You saw your chance to make a sustainable shift at the store before your run. You said "YES" to that blue lightweight, reusable, aluminum water bottle versus the sea of plastic that dominated the store refrigerator. First of all, let us say, "Congrats!" Now that you've adopted the New Hybrid, how do you know when it's time to recycle it? While there's no one set lifetime for a PATHWATER bottle, they're pretty darn resilient; we'll help you look for signs that it's time to recycle and refresh your reusable bottle.
Since you became conscious of the massive problems surrounding single-use plastic water bottles, you've decided to commit to a zero plastic waste lifestyle, and we're thrilled to have you on the path with us. Whether you've scanned the PATHWATER website or you've seen the media storm of plastic wreaking havoc around the world, you have decided to make a positive influence on your surrounding environment.
Lightweight, yet sturdy enough to take a hit, the first sip from your PATHWATER bottle was extremely cold and so refreshing. You knew this was the bottle you wanted to take out with you on future runs - the reuse addiction kicked in. And if you promise not to run over it in the driveway, then rest assured, you will no doubt, be refilling it well over 10, maybe even 100+ times. However, if an accident does occur and you properly set it out for recycling, you could see it back on the shelves as another can or bottle in as little as 90 days, as aluminum is backed by a robust recycling system.
However, most PATHWATER bottles are reused more often than recycled. In fact, in one test case of 10,000 bottles, 82% of PATHWATER bottles were reused. This is one of the reasons you made your choice at the store. But now the question is, how long can you continue using it? Is it going to be an annoyance keeping it clean and undamaged? The simple answer is that it shouldn't, as long as you follow some simple steps to care for it. Here's a quick "Do This, Not That" visual for taking care of your PATHWATER bottle.
With proper care, you might still be using your bottle for years. In fact, some of the oldest PATHWATER bottles from 2015 are still actively in use today as a result of light daily rinsing with soapy water and a soft sponge to wash the bottle. Washing daily helps keep bacteria from growing in your bottle. If you've followed the simple instructions for cleaning and stayed away from abrasives, you can be assured the liner has remained undamaged. Some of the biggest worries with metal bottles are the BPA liner and their subsequent leaching into the water. PATHWATER bottles are designed with a BPA free liner, so that will not be a concern.
Now that you've gotten a handle on the proper care needed to make your PATHWATER last, what are the signs that your reusable bottle is best sent to the recycling bin?
Here are some Q&A's from other PATHWATER customers that we thought would be helpful to share.
Q: Should I recycle my PATHWATER bottle if it is dented?
A: Aluminum, being lightweight by nature, is prone to dents if given a good whack or if it takes a fall, but the dent is just a blemish and won't hurt anything structural with the bottle. Now that car tire incident will have a different story. If your bottle is severely damaged or punctured, it's time to recycle it and grab a new one.
Q: Will my bottle rust?
A: Stainless steel might but not aluminum. Aluminum is not prone to rust, so if you see rust anywhere on your bottle after a period of time, consider what other metals you might have come in contact with. If, on the other hand, you notice white oxidation bumps, you can simply rinse your bottle with water and baking powder. With a soft bristle brush, you can easily get rid of any oxidation spots, which are a natural result of water/air exposure.
Q: Is my bottle ready to be recycled if there's a metallic taste?
A: Unlikely, it might just need a good washing, but not a serious problem. Try rinsing it with a white vinegar and water solution.
Q: What can I do if my bottle gets stinky, should I recycle it?
A: Have you been rinsing your bottle with soapy water regularly, then air-drying it? Come on, be honest. We got you, just try a water and vinegar rinse, to kill the odor and make sure to follow regular washing instructions including some air-dry time.
Q: Should I wash the cap too?
A: Yes, bacteria can build up on any surface of any reusable bottle, and it's essential to keep bacteria and build-up at bay.
Q: What if I did any of the actions on the NOT THIS instructions (abrasive brush, microwave, dishwasher, freezer)?
A: If your bottle appears to be in working condition, your safe to continue using your bottle. If, however, any of the actions caused your bottle to burst, or appear different than it was before the incident, it's likely time to recycle and grab a new bottle. And of course, don't use abrasive brushes, place in microwave, dishwasher, or freezer cause didn't we learn our lesson?
Q: Should I remove the cap before recycling?
A: Yes. It’s helpful to remove the cap from your aluminum bottle before recycling. You will want to check and see if your recycling facility accepts polypropylene #5 to properly sort the cap as well.
Conclusion: Keep your PATHWATER bottle for years with proper washing and care
Caring for your reusable water bottle is an act of dedication to the planet. We built PATHWATER bottles to last, so the bottle itself does not have a recommended expiration date. So far, bottles from every batch of manufacturing are still actively in use today. Down the line, when PATHWATER bottles become older, we might have a better idea of their life expectancy. As of now, you’re safe to grab a PATHWATER bottle and reuse it until…
Thanks, Randall, for asking such a great question! If you have a question on anything related to recycling, aluminum, and our plastic crisis, please send your inquires to firstname.lastname@example.org.