Thursday, May 08, 2008

Peace Out Nalgene

Within the last couple of years an increasing desire for product knowledge has gained momentum. Specifically speaking, more and more consumers (that's all of us) are becoming keenly interested in knowing where the products we use and consume come from, how they are made and what they are made of.

Over the past 13 years this thought had not crossed my mind when drinking from one my many Nalgene bottles which have been with me to many summits, climbing crags, down rivers and slot canyons, on road trips and more recently on hikes with my kids.

Then I read 5 months ago about MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op) pulling Nalgene bottles from their shelves due to the bottles being made from polycarbonate plastic containing BPA (Bisphenol A) which is made form Acetone and Phenol, both toxic and harmful.

All of this got me thinking twice about Nalgene water bottles and if I should hang onto them. I realize that each day, whether we like it or not, we are exposed to a lot of chemicals and other things that are harmful. But to do so knowingly has keep me thinking, until now. As of today, the only place for my Nalgene bottles is in the recycling bin.

Adios Nalgene

But not ALL of them. Remember the old school Nalgene bottles that were the common clouded white color? The same ones that everyone couldn't wait to lose so they could upgrade to the cooler colored ones? These bottles are BPA free and are identified by the number 2 on the bottom of them vs. the number 7 with the PC letters under it that the colored ones have.

These old school Nalgene bottles are keepers

Nalgene said late last month that they are phasing out the bottles that contain BPA "because of consumer demands", also stating that the bottles made with BPA are safe. Of course they'd say it was safe (safe being a relative term in this particular discussion), with millions upon millions of dollars at stake.

On the flipside an article entitled "Don't buy a Nalgene Water Bottle Until You Read This" on last month cites a study which says that BPA is not safe. The US EPA says that they are safe while Canada's helth organization has banned them from the country. Who's right?

Like my mom used to say about food in the fridge that had been around and was suspect - "when in doubt, throw it out"

But to Nalgene's credit, they have introduced a new Nalgene Choice microsite that shows the line of bottles that you can choose from which are BPA free.

So while I'm ready to say Peace Out! to my colored Nalgene bottles it's not entirely the case for the brand itself.


Update: The content crew informed me that this past month they wrote an article for the newsletter about whether its poison or plastic. I guess I need to read our own newsletters more closely

Don't want to recycle your Nalgene bottles? Here are some ideas from




Blogger climbinskier said...

Yano this has been a very polarizing topic of discussion. My thought is what's the point of exposing yourself to any more potential dangers from toxins. Yes they are all around us but why not minimize your exposure anywhere you can.

I too will be repurposing my #7 Nalgene's as various, albeit expensive, storage containers.

Old school white bottles, here I come...

5/08/2008 4:53 PM

Blogger Adam said...

my question is, where did those thousands of nalgenes go? rei pulled them all off their shelves, do we have some green initiative here? I think someone should make a raft out of all of them...but wait, would that contaminate our waters?

im with eelick, those unattractive crunchy white nalgenes are calling my name.

not this time cancer, better luck next time.

5/08/2008 5:50 PM

Anonymous akatsuki said...

I say goodbye for the brand. They acted the evil corporation and started covering their butts when BPA studies started coming out. I won't buy anything Nalgene, and I say drop the brand.

5/08/2008 9:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

#7 plastic typically isn't recyclable, most places only take #1 or #2....find a creative reuse for the nalgene, maybe a rain gage or bird feeder or something!

5/08/2008 9:27 PM

Blogger powstash said...

I like the bird feeder idea. I think I know how to work it out. I'll post pictures once it's done. Thanks!

@ akatsuki - I'd be lying if I said I didn't share similar feelings. It does feel like I've been betrayed by a friend (I've become attached to my Nalgene bottles over the years).

I did get word from up the totem pole that the new BPA free bottles are on order. I guess we're not dropping the brand.

But what to do with over 800 Polycarbonate, BPA included, bottles in stock? 800 bird feeders? Sell them on SAC?

5/09/2008 10:46 AM


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home