Water Bottles and Summer Camps


Should you be keeping that plastic water bottle your child gets from Summer camp?

Like many kids, my daughter goes to Summer camp for various activities including soccer. At the end of the week, she’s issued a soccer ball, a t-shirt and a plastic water bottle. Being in the business of selling stainless steel water bottles, I naturally decline the plastic water bottle but I’m given the bottle on the last day regardless. Of course, upon receiving the bottle I can’t help but look at the bottom of the bottle where the type of plastic is indicated. Not surprisingly, it’s a PE plastic water bottle. Of course, I voice my concerns.

But ultimately, it’s up to parents to make the decision on what to do with these plastic water bottles. Should you be keeping that water bottle your child gets at Summer camp? Definitely, no if it is any type of plastic except PP or #5.

Polyethylene (PE) is used in PET, HDPE and LDPE which are used in portable water bottles, pop bottles, sports drinks and for ketchup, salad dressing,peanut butter, pickle, jam, bags, containers, detergent dispensers, and etc. All are meant for one-time use only. Once washed or exposed to heat, the plastic changes and chemicals are released related and suspected of causing cancer and disrupting hormones. PE is found in plastics classified at #1, #2 and #4 which are only safe for single-use applications.

The acceptable plastic for water bottles especially reusable types is plastic #5 polypropylene (PP). PP is BPA free and is the most stable of available plastic meaning it is less likely to leach chemicals when reused, washed and handled. Stainless steel is still the best for water bottles but you won’t be getting a stainless steel water bottle from camps since plastic bottles are so much cheaper.

What about plastics #3, #6 and #7? Avoid these completely as they are very bad… #7 is the worst as it’s classified as an “unknown” plastic which means it can be a combination of plastics, some of which many not be one of the six. For more information on the types of plastic and what to watch out for, see about plastics.

We also welcome your comments and questions for further discussion.