Bottled Water & Water Bottles

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Safe and environmentally friendly water bottle

April 2007

Looking for a safe bottle for using to drink tap water, day-to-day. For environmental and possible health reasons, we don't like using bottled water bottles. But, there is some concern re: re-using bottles w/ water in case of bacteria contamination. Any recommendations on a bottle that is good for this purpose - using day-to-day for carrying around tap water to drink? Any recommendations for ensuring their cleanliness too, i.e. bacteria free. Thank you. Michele

Sigg stainless steel bottles--sold at Whole Foods, Elephant Pharmacy, etc. Lightweight, very clean, highly reusable. Just be careful about dropping and denting them! CC

Klean Kanteen makes stainless steel bottles that are great. There's no lining (which Sigg bottles have -- they tend to get unsettling deposits in them). If you're just using water in them you can simply clean them with a vinegar/water mixture, or you can put them in the dishwasher. They are excellent, and come in lots of sizes including a ''sippy cup'' size, which you can use with an Advent sippy adapter. You can get sport top or screw top caps. The Ecology Center sells them at their store and at the Berkeley farmers markets. The website is Annie

Any of the polypropylene (#5) bottles are fine. I got one at the big longs on 51st. Actually I bought several. THey work great, they have a lid that stays closed and doesn't leak, and you really don't have to worry about bacteria if you clean it just like you'd clean anything else. I did buy a nice avent bottle scrubber (the standard ones are too flimsy), and I clean it w/ soap & water, and sometimes put it in the dishwasher. Avoid the bottles with built in straws. You really can't keep those clean. In general, just look at the lid and the bottle and see if there are any parts that you can't reach with a brush or sponge, and avoid any bottle that can't be cleaned. Don't worry-you'll do fine. I suppose you could periodically soak with water and a drop or two of bleach, or a little vinegar if you're really worried, but it's not necessary.

Try a Sigg bottle. They work very well -- no funky tastes -- and even come in toddler sizes which works great for our son in preschool. I have seen them at Whole Foods for the price of a small home, but you can buy them online for much cheaper. I think the url we used was something like or similar. I think that kid place on College Avenue has them as well. well hydrated

I use Sigg water bottles for both my daugther and myself. It's stainless steel, comes in different designs and sizes, doesn't leak and cleans well with soap and water. I know people who also like Klean Kanteen for adults and kids. Here's a link to some reviews on these and where to find information Cynthia

See the Swiss-made SIGG aluminum water bottles from c-19_33.html (and probably elsewhere) -- they are, according to the website, ''reusable...ultra-lightweight, durable, great looking, 100% recyclable and, most importantly, safe'' -- and really cute, too. They come in grown-up and kid sizes/styles. I'm about to order some for our family. Less plastic

The best ones that I have found and use all the time are Klean Kanteens, all stainless steel (with no plastic inner lining that can often contain harmful chemicals) they come with an optional sport top. I don't know if some local stores carry them, but you can buy them online at You mentioned that for health reasons you don't want to use plastic bottles and that you want to use your water bottle for tap water. Since tap water can also contain contaminants that cause health problems I would also suggest that you get a good water purifier for your tap. The local health food stores sell great ones for about $100. Nicole

The Kleen Kanteen is an all-stainless steel bottle that might work for you. (It's supposed to be a little better than the aluminum bottles because it doesn't require an epoxy or ceramic lining to make it food safe). I also just use a clear glass bottle (former HonestTea bottle) for keeping water with me at the office. I like it because I can see how clean it is and how much water I have. I don't know about the bacteria issues you mention with re-use, wouldn't simply washing the bottle take care of that? safely hydrated

Eco Alternative to Bottled Fizzy Water?

April 2007

My family is addicted to fizzy water (Calistoga, Pelligrino, etc.), so much so that we go through about 20 bottles a week. Lately, we've been hating ourselves for the amount of plastic bottles we see in our recycler and realize that we need to make a change...but we don't want to give up fizzy water! Any suggestions for more eco ways to perhaps make bubble water at home? Thanks,
Guilty Guzzlers

i am addicted to it too, and am looking for alternatives. not only the bottle thing, but the environmental cost to ship water long distances is hefty. in the sf chronicle's green guide last week, there was mention of a home ''fizzing'' device. i've also read a while back about a local service that carbonates water and does home delivery--can't remember the name but i think it's on the peninsula; i calculated the price and it was higher than buying bottled water at costco.

Here's an idea:

Hope it helps. I know other families that have done this. You may have to search around a bit more to get exactly what you want, but it's a lead. Samantha

My family is the same. Feeling guilty about the amount of plastic we were 'recycling', I saw a van for a company called 'Selzer Sisters' and called them. They deliver excellent (much better than store bought) selzer to your door in containers that get returned and reused when empty. They aren't cheap mind you, but we feel it's worth the extra money since it's such a great product and service. guilty no more

I think this might be more of a recommendation than advice but check out the Seltzer Sisters at They deliver seltzer water and the bottles are continually reused (when they drop off your next delivery they pick up your old bottles to refill). A friend of mine has been getting their deliveries for years and loves them. They deliver all over the Bay Area. Fellow fizzy lover

Filtered tap water (Brita filter, and I live in Berkeley), chilled with a slice of lemon, is actually quite tasty. If it's good enough for Chez Panisse, it's good enough for me!

Or you can buy one of those seltzer water bottles if you want to make your own fizzy water. Former Pelligrino addict

You could try Seltzer Sisters, a service that delivers 10-20 re-usable 2 liter bottles of seltzer to your door as often as once a week. When you have used all the seltzer, you leave the empty bottles for the company to pick up and they re-fill and re-distribute them. They deliver throughout the Bay Area. We have been using their service for several years now and are quite happy with it. You can find out more at

Check out Soda Club:

We've been making our own fizzy water using their equipment for a couple of years now and really like it. We got the Edition 1 model. Karen

We make our own with a 1-liter seltzer bottle and charger. The bottle cost about $50 and the chargers (cartridges) are about 50-75 cents each. You can get them online (a bit chearper) or at beverage stores (BevMo has them).

---Lovin the Bubblin!---

Just google ''soda maker'' or ''carbonator'' and you'll find home appliances that make fizzy water. Chelsea

Easy! You want to call Seltzer Sisters (1-800-928-3755 or for home delivery of seltzer in reusable bottles. It's kinda pricey--$3 per 1.5 liter bottle. But the taste is excellent and you won't feel guilty about throwing away bottles. Nancy

You answer is SELTZER SISTERS, a seltzer delivery service. It is probably the same cost as Pellegrino( depends on where you buy it) But is more expensive than Calistoga. However, I am a mineral water freak, and I think SELTZER SISTERS is FAR better. It is the best I have ever ever had, and I am from New York City, and we know a thing or two about seltzer.

Seltzer is delivered to your house in returnable glass or plastic bottles. She uses filtered water from Hetch Hetchy. It is perfectly carbonated and NEVER goes flat. I am completely addicted. There are two sizes - the big ugly plastic bottles quench my thirst, but I always throw on a case ( 6 bottles ) of glass because somehow she got her hands on hundreds of the old- fashioned glass seltzer bottles from New York and Chicago. Each glass bottle makes me smile. Each is etched with the name of a long ago seltzer delivery service. They are really wonderful. 1- 800-WATER-55. Or, her website is Joined the Sisterhood

i recall macy's used to sell chargers of CO2. probably sur la table, crate and barrel, too. you get a special bottle (which you fill with water) that the charger screws into, then it releases CO2 into the water. you'd be throwing away (or recycling?) chargers only. a

For some reason, I didn't get the advice given on this one, so forgive me if I'm repeating info.

We just went through your exact dilemma. We love bubbly water but have been concerned or all the reasons you state. Even at TJ's price Pellegrino is expensive, but more than that, the waste of shipping water across the sea.

We just bought a Lissa 2-liter seltzer making bottle. I bought it on-line from this place, which also has a lot of info that lets you compare models: Their shipping was reasonable too--compared with, which wanted a lot more.

I bought a lot of the little cartridges to bring down the price. Now, we're making 2 liters--roughly two and a half bottles of the 750 ml Pellegrino bottles--for a dollar. At this rate, the bottle will pay for itself in less than two months.

The water tastes great. It's a little fizzier, but with smaller bubbles. The store we bought from has lots of replacement parts, too.

The only not-great thing about the model we bought is that the directions seem to be translated from Hungarian and aren't quite clear in some places. But we seem to have figured it out.

Good luck! Rosemary

Looking For New Bottled Water Service

Sept 2006

We're discontinuing our service with Arrowhead bottled water due to repeated problems with bottles having glue and other residues on the neck. We've looked through the web site and the Internet and can't find another bottled water service. Can anyone recommend another bottled water service that they've had positive experiences with?
Tired of Paying for Filthy Water Bottles

We use Alhambra water service: They have been reliable and friendly, and I've never seen residue on the bottle. Also, they have both fluoridated and fluoride-free options, in 3- and 5-gallon sizes, if that matters to you (it did to us.)
Thirsty mom

Small Size Bottled Water with Sport Top

Jan 2006

Where can I purchase those small, 8 oz. size, bottled waters with sport tops for my preschooler's lunch? We live in North Berkeley. Safeway used to have the Dannon, Fluoride to go, but no longer stocks them. Thanks

Albertson's at El Cerrito Plaza intermittently has these - I think they're Alhambra (it's just nuts that I don't know the brand considering my life is littered with these bottles!), - I do know they say Jr. Sport on them. They're definitely aimed at kids - they're fluoridated, and sometimes the package even looks like a school bus. There was an older style of pull-open top that was recalled as a choking hazard, but the newer screw-type tops are fine. They do seem to come and go on the store shelves, but if you save the lids you can fit them on the 8 oz. bottles without sport tops that are available when the sport-top ones are not there. We re-use the bottles a few times (as long as they stay out of the sun/heat), and re-use the tops repeatedly this way. Great for lunchboxes, bedside tables, hiking/biking, and the car. Can you tell this is one of the products that makes my life easier? It is! Nancy

Not all, but most Walgreen's carry those small Dannon waters. Good luck! Ellen

I was at the El Cerrito Natural Grocery a few weeks ago and saw ''kiddie'' versions of the Trinity brand water. They were smaller sized for little hands with sport tops. anon

Thinking about getting bottled water system

June 2004

Hello, I live in a household with four adults and two toddlers. We are thinking of getting bottled water delivery with some type of dispenser (the kind you put the big 5-gallon bottled upside down into). The company I have looked into the most is Arrowhead. They have a ceramic crock dispenser that sits on a four-legged oak stand. This is the one I prefer because it's the least expensive and least fancy; it simply dispenses room-temperature water. Here are my questions:

1. Does anyone currently have this stand? Does it seem like the kind of thing that can be toppled over by two curious toddlers? {I called the company and they said they never had any complaints about the stand falling over, but I am concerned about the difference between a full and empty tank of water and it's likelyhood to fall if knocked by the little ones. )

2. Does anyone have ideas about a better, inexpensive way to get bottled spring water in the home? (I am aware of the dangers of using too much ''purified'' water so I am not interested in that.)

Thank you very much, Jo

Our water bottle lasted through a wild toddlerhood. I was the one who knocked it over. I'd keep it in a corner, just the same. Anon

We have the Alhambra water service with the ceramic crock dispenser which sits on a wood stand. We have had our toddler- aged niece and nephews over many times and have never had any worries or close calls in terms of the dispenser being knocked over. Our biggest problem, however, is keeping them from playing with the spout and emptying water all over our floor (it's unfortunately right at toddler eye level) Hope this helps! Shami

If you get your tap water from EBMUD or the San Francisco water system, you can simply fill a clean bottle from your tap. Both systems get water from the Sierra and deliver very high quality water to their clients. By 'high quality', I mean soft water, low in total dissolved solids, low in minerals, arsenic, radon, and so on. Also very high bacteriological quality. Unlike bottled water, that from the large distributors is tested thoroughly and often.

However if for some reason you don't want any traces of fluoride or chlorine in your water, you could stick with commercial bottled water. If you use your own purification system, remember that ALL systems age, degrade, and need monitoring and upkeep. Good luck! George