A lot of consumers are still wary of the potential hazards that come with reusableplastic water bottles. While many manufacturers are making plastic bottles that do not contain BPA, or bisphenol A, purists are still concerned that the toxic compound may still lurk in hard plastic products and leach into the water they drink. And BPA is still widely used the linings of some metallic cans. Phthalates, or plastic softeners, are also used in some food packaging products.
According to an article in the New York Times, a 2012 survey of more than 4,000 consumers by EcoFocus Worldwide, a research and consulting group, showed that 37 percent were extremely or very concerned about the health and safety of plastics used in water and food packaging as compared to 33 percent just two years ago. And the study reported that in a survey of about 2,600 people, 42 percent said they no longer drink water from plastic bottles or were drinking it less.
Heating any kind of plastic container in a microwave oven, or putting hot liquid into a plastic bottle raises the risk that chemicals used in packaging will get into consumers’ food and drinks. And metal water bottles are not only easier dented, some people are offended by the slight metallic taste they impart.
So, reusable glass food and beverage containers are becoming more and more popular, according to the Glass Packaging Institute. The organization says that glass container companies represent a $5.5 billion dollar industry in the U.S., and employ close to 18,000 skilled workers in 50 glass manufacturing plants in 23 states.
Coca-Cola is selling more of its products—including Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, and Sprite—in eight-ounce glass bottles, and S.C. Johnson has developed a line of reusable containers called Ziploc® VersaGlass™ glass storage containers made from tempered glass and can be used to store, heat and serve food. VersaGlass containers can be sued in the microwave and the oven (up to 400ºF) as well as the freezer or refrigerator.
There are several brands of plastic water bottles on the market; most of them use a plastic sleeve to protect the glass from breaking; most of the sleeves have holes that allow the water level inside the bottle to be seen. But when one of these bottles does break, the sleeve does little to stop the glass from cracking or shattering and water from leaking everywhere.
Entrepreneur and scientist Walt Himelstein was determined to develop a coating that stopped water and glass from leaking if the glass broke. After almost two years, Himelstein invented a non-toxic clear, shatter-resistant coating that is also free of BPA. PURE glass bottles are coated with an FED-approved material called Eastman Tritan™, and the inside of the bottles are 100 percent glass. The PURE bottles can be filled with hot or cold beverages and are easy to clean and dishwasher safe.
Right now, consumers can purchase PURE glass bottles in different sizes from the company’s website. Himelstein and his business partner, Marc Heinke, hope to expand sales to retailers such as the yoga gear-maker, Lululemon.