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Refilling Your Plastic Water Bottles Is Really, Really Bad, So Stop Doing It

Harmful chemicals. In some cases, certain plastic water bottles can release harmful chemicals when they’re washed for reuse at high temperatures. Bottles marked with a number 1 are made of polyethylene terephthalate, which has been linked to cancer.

Bottles marked with a “3” contain polyvinyl chloride, which contains phthalates. Many studies have shown a link between those chemicals and poor reproductive health.

You might be harming the environment. It seems like common sense to wash your disposable plastic water bottles, doesn’t it? You’re trying not to contribute to the bulk of landfills by doing this. Surely, it’s a good thing. Well, it turns out it isn’t.

According to Columbia University’s Health Services, it’s more helpful to the environment if you save the water you use for washing the plastic bottles. The soap and detergent you use to wash them are also known to make their way back to municipal water sources, so start with that instead.

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