The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle conundrum

A recent letter from the CEO of SIGG, revealing that their metal water bottles made prior to August 2008 had liners with trace amounts of bisphenol A (BPA) has stirred up a lot of anger, disappointment and disgust. I think this is understandable, since SIGG’s marketing has heavily emphasized their ‘green’ and ‘better alternative to disposable plastic’ qualities. If you think about it, whether a particular plastic is harmful to the human body or not is not the same as whether disposable plastic is harmful to the environment, but this health/safety/environment thing has gotten all mixed together in many people’s minds, hence the angry reactions. (Some of them are rather over the top - I’ve seen a couple of people call for a boycott of all Swiss made products, which is absurd to say the least.)

What to do if you have a SIGG bottle and are concerned

If you own SIGG bottles, check out their FAQ page to see if you have an older or newer (BPA-free) bottle. There is a exchange program in effect, at least for North America. And one of the sites linked to above states that major retailers are also offering in-store exchanges. It can’t hurt to find out if your local retailers are doing this.

(Sidenote: This is obviously a pretty major PR disaster for SIGG. It made me laugh in that ‘ha ha ha’ sarcastic way because from my long years of living in Switzerland, I’ve observed that Swiss companies occasionally (often?) seem to have a problem with PR, at least in the way that Americans understand it. It remains to be seen how or when SIGG can recover from this. To put a positive spin on it, they went about tackling the issue in a very overly cautious way, which is a very Swiss kind of thing to do, but in this day and age this may not quite work well. See also: how another big Swiss company tried to buy back the affections of disenchanted customers. I am predicting something along the lines of coupons or something at least from SIGG, but we shall see.)

The water bottle conundrum

I do own a couple of SIGG water bottles (both fairly recent purchases, so BPA-free according to the SIGG website), but I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of them (though I am a fan of the SIGG aluminum lunch boxes). This has nothing to do with whatever they are coated on on the inside, but the fact that the bottle is not really insulated on its own. You need to buy the bottle and a protective insulated sleeve to keep the bottle cool, otherwise the bottle ‘sweats’ in a unpleasant way. Plus, the price of the bottle plus the sleeve adds up to a lot.

On the other hand, I do like to have water on hand but the rapidity at which those disposable ones can pile up is quite alarming. And even bottled water may not be that safe. At home I try to keep cooled tap water in the refrigerator (though I use a plastic jar to store it in). But what to do on the road? Stick to sometimes lukewarm tap water? Carry around a metal canteen (but how do you keep that cool, and what about metal leeching or rust?) I admit that at the moment I just buy a cooled drink most of the time. (Modern life is hard, isn’t it, when you have to feel guilty even about how you consume a simple beverage…)

What do you drink with your bento lunch - and what do you carry it in?

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Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

I typically just drink water in my wide-mouth stainless steal water bottle. While it's handwash only, the wide mouth means you can go in with a scrubbie and get every last germ (Not to mention putting in ice cubes!). I bought this kind because it has a unique curvy design and came with a carabiner clip.

I never really used 'disposable' plastic water bottles, mostly because of the cost. That, and I know they would just pile up in my car if I did.

A basic bottle like this works for me mostly because I don't need my water to be ice cold for me to drink it. It's definitely been a wise investment, especially since my boyfriend has used it to defend me against a seagull (the seagull was trying to attack my hair!).

Occasionally I'll take some chocolate milk with me, but that's rare. When I do, I have a special no-leak bottle that came in my Lunchsense lunchbox. I keep it cool with the icepak in there.

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

Is it any wonder children will turn on the faucet, let it run until cold, then just put their mouths on them? Gross? Yes! But probably no worse for you than the bottle/bottled controversy.

Consumers just can't get a break. Perhaps we aren't as evolved as we'd like to think we are.

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

What I drink with my bento depends on where I am. If I'm working at Starbucks, I have a drink there and try to remember to get a for-here cup or use my own. At my other job, I usually use the waterfountain or bring something from home in my own cup or a reused jar or bottle. And what it is varies with my mood--tea, ice coffee with milk, water, sometimes soda.

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

I've got a Kleen Kanteen waterbottle and pretty polka-dotted sleeve that goes everywhere with me. During the day, I drink from that. With my bentos, I've got a tea thermos from Teavana--I literally drink tea with every meal. Unless I'm out for lunch and dinner, in which case I'll probably wind up refilling my waterbottle for one of those meals.

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

Nearly ALL canned goods in the US are in cans with BPA liners.
I'm not sure about Europe / Asia...

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

I personally use a miGo plastic bottle. I don't know if it's a Japanese maker, tho; I bought it in Japan. I usually put water and ice in it and since it sweats, I wrap a towel around with an elastic band. It's a great bottle.

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

Thank you for posting this. I actually bought my bottle from the Whole Foods here a few months ago and it turns out it is one of the ones that can be exchanged so I will be sending it in today. :) Thank you for the information.

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

Thank you for posting about this. I had not heard about it, and while I am not angry I would like my bottle replaced. People have entirely too much anger about this....yes, we were told something that turned out to not be true so they are offering an exchange. It happens, that is life. Tomorrow something else will be found to be toxic in some way. People need to chill out because all of that anger is going to give you a heart attack before the BPA can have it's way with you :)

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

An important fact that keeps getting lost in the explosion of worry is that though the bottles contain BPA their tests have always and still do prove that no BPA or othe harmful products leach through the liner into the water. Meaning even the old bottles are still perfectly safe. To clarify I do not work for SIGG but just find it rediculouseness how people can lose sight of the facts with all the hysteria.

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

These are SIGG's tests. Why do you trust them? That seems naive.

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

I'm a dancer, so I need to drink lots of water through the day. However, coming from Iceland, I have a problem with drinking the water in the uk. So usually I end up buying 1,5 liter bottles (from Volvic, they are the best, the least 'taste' as I find a lot of bottled water here has a weird taste :P ) Sometimes I buy 5 litre bottles and fill up my 1,5 litre one before i head to school

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

If I'm out and about I honestly use an old, beat up nalgene bottle. I know is old and plastic so not technically correct, but it still feels much better to me then replacing somthing that works perfectly well for me. My 1 liter nalgene is from my old univeristy in the US, and I live overseas now, so it has a lot of sentimental value for me too.

If I'm at work, I use a porceline or pottery mug that I also drink tea from. It occasianaly (read not often as it should) goes home for a wash, but not washing it as often as it should be is enviormentally correct too.

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

Thanks for the heads-up. Am in SE-Asia and the news has not hit us yet.

Personally I have a variety of bottles, plastic ones for room temperature water and stainless steel ones for hot drinks when I'm in the mood. usually I drink plain water with my bentos as I'm a teacher and its the only thing that really quenches my thirst after 2 hours of screaming at pupils. ^^

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

I have a Thermos "Hydration bottle". Double walled, so keeps things the right temperature. Holds 2 cups and fits in most cup holders. Doesn't add a taste to the drink, like my SIGG bottles do.

I will, however, be sending my old SIGG bottles in. They all taste like drinking from a hose, maybe the new liner will change that.

green tea & other green stuff

I work in an office so its easy for me to access hot water for my green tea. hopefully soon I will no longer be working in the office, when that day comes I will probably get a themos to carry my tea in.. or an old/re-used gatorage bottle for anything cold.

regarding the "green" stuff... I don't trust any of it, not because I am anti-"living green" but because I don't trust the people manufacturing these supposedly "heathy alternatives"... It has become so wide spred that buisnesses that are looking for a quick buck will slap the word "Green" on a product and they will get rich off of a simple word.... even if the product is in no way shape or form healthy...

I'm all for living healthy and happy, but I dont agree with big buisnesses taking over that kind of lifestyle and polluting it with their cheap mercandise.

thats just my opinion... *shrug*

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

I love how we Americans over react to everything. My husband was just debating whether to get a stainless steel water bottle or an aluminum, because he thought he heard that aluminum was bad for you (mind you this is a man that will down 8 cans of soda in a sitting without blinking an eye). I told him it was a little crazy to care so much about a container for water and that neither would be harmful, but hey what do I know.

I personally keep 3 water bottles (one for work, two for home) made of a recyclable plastic that are dishwasher safe. I rotate them out and run them through the dishwasher every so often. But unless it is freezing or I cannot dig up any decent tea, that is what I usually have with my bento.

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

When the BPA controversy erupted in Canada and the government declared it a dangerous substance back in April 2008, retailers had to pull all their plastic re-usable water bottles. SIGG bottles were suddenly everywhere (and now we know that those weren't necessarily BPA-free at the time), and the few BPA-free plastic bottles that were available quickly sold out.

Now many retailers here carry plastic bottles marked BPA-free in giant letters. The two brands I currently use are the Nalgene Everyday and the CamelBak Better Bottle. No metal taste, BPA-free, and light to carry.

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

- i'm writing this without having read all the comments above.

When I decided to buy a reusable water bottle, I immediately thought NALGENE, cause that's what all my friends were using back then in the US. Then again, it was smack in the middle of the uproar, nalgene using bad plastic, too.
So I bought a sigg.
That was in early Sept 08. I'll have to check about my own bottles.
But anyway, that's kind of ironic, isnt it?
Of course, that's a bad for a greater good,, since from now on, you can bet they'll only use okayed material.

I love my sigg though. So much that I bought a new one exactly 3 days ago - smaller, a 20oz, the other I have is 30oz - I bought it from a seller on Internet, so I have no idea how he had it. I have to check that one too.

thank you for the tip.

A question about stainless steel bottles

I have a BPA-free Nalgene bottle that I stick in the freezer every night 1/3 full of water. I find that if I tip the bottle by leaning it way over against something, the ice has a greater surface area and doesn't break the plastic. The in the morning I fill it the rest of the way with water, stick it in my bento bag, and it doubles as a cooling element.

My question is, has anyone tried freezing water in a metal bottle, and if so, does it work well? I'd love to have a stainless one, since I like the way water tastes in steel, but if I have to choose between that and freezing it, I'll take freezing.

Re: A question about stainless steel bottles

Yes, water freezes fine in metal bottles. Make sure to leave the lid off though!

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

A lot of the in-the-know hippie types at my undergrad university used a mason or Kilner jar. Glass is heavier but I suppose carrying it around just gives one buff arms.

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

I hadn't even heard about all this craziness. I have a small personal sized thermos and I have a large one that is for three people. I despise the way watert tastes (and yes, you CAN taste water..and tap water in Indiana is full of limestone and over chlorinated, it's like drinking from a swimming pool full of rocks.) and bottles water is to expensive, so I tend to brew iced tea (I found a supplier where I can get the tea blend they make for Thai tea, omg that stuff is good!) and I keep a huge batch of that brewed up in a glass pitcher in my fridge (or sometimes two or three pitchers in the summer) and fill my thermos, depending on which one I'm using. I don't work (I'm disabled) so I tend to carry bento if I'm going to be out running errands through a day. I sometimes take my mother to visit my fathers grave (which is a 200 mile round trip) and I pack bento's and tea for us and we basically "Have lunch with dad" which...strikes a lot of people in the US as pretty damn WIERD, but it doesn't seem to bother mom and I like the idea.

So tea and thermos' for me!

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

I have two water bottles, both metal, though for no particular reason. The first I bought because I wanted a smaller bottle - it holds about 400 ml instead of the usual size, since I almost never drink a full bottle of water or juice. The second was free, given because I participated in an event...

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

I have a Sigg bottle, in fact I have two! My old one was a bit past it's best, it had gone to work and back every day for almost two years and been dropped more than a handful of times!

I sit my Sigg on my desk all day, we have a water cooler at work, and as I can drink 3 or4 [Sigg] bottles a day I never really get a warm drink.

I wouldn't be without mine.

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

Hazard du jour. As each week goes by we are told by "The National Center(s) for Moonbeams and Rainbows" that some new hazard has been lurking there in our well intended surroundings. All the while our lifespans increase and the population fraction of seniors grow.

Normally these alarms are the work of someone with a vested interest in promoting the fright or someone with a misguided sense of enviornmental stewardship or even someone who's hobby is being annoying.

Knowledge is a good thing -- just watch out for your teachers....

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

There are disposable plastic glasses in my office so we usually use them. If I'm having lunch at my husband's office, we use regular crystal glasses, or mugs that are available in his office's kitchen.

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

I'm disappointed to find that they have a plastic lining at all. The whole reason I got one was to get away from plastic altogether. Now my choice is my old BPA laden bottle or a new coating untested by time. (they can't possibly test for everything or for long term exposure) Why does it need the plastic lining at all?

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

Well, I use a BPA-free plastic Thermos bottle when I bring a drink with me. Otherwise, I just use a glass carafe and glass at work that I refill with water from our reverse osmosis-filtered water dispenser. I do use an old plastic cup for my morning smoothie, though, honestly, I'm not too worried about leaching plastic.

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

Not because I'm just that worried about it, I use two WaterGeeks steel thermoses. I like that they're washable (which I do daily) and they keep my water cold from work to class...or, in one thermos' case, it keeps my tea hot.

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

I'll keep using my sigg bottles tyvm!
Just because there is BPA potentially in the liner doesn't mean it can get OUT of the liner! If you follow the instructions (no hot stuff in your sigg) I don't see why anyone would get rid of the bottle (except if you've caught the bad case of FEAR that's been going around).

I haven't bought a drink in a plastic bottle in (literally) years, and I don't intend to again, unless it's an emergency. It worries me because here there are no standards for bottled water, yet our tap water has very high safety standards! So I'll take the tap water.

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

I use a Stanley BPA-free 24oz. water bottle. I don't mind that it is plastic because I reuse it all the time. I pretty much have stopped using any form of cups or glasses (outside restaurants) and just drink from my water bottle.

I don't mind tap or well water because I use those 10 calorie drink packets. Once you mix one of those in you can't tell what kind of water it was anyways,

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

Perhaps it is an overreaction, and while I might be tempted to take chances for myself, I'm not willing to take a chance with my daughter. The whole problem with these plastics is that they are endocrine disruptors. We don't yet know the full effect of these toxic substances, and since they could affect my daughter's future fertility and development, I am angry, yes. She's been drinking out of a SIGG bottle since she was about a year old, since 2006, during her prime developmental years. Will SIGG be around when she's an adult if she has problems due to their lack of honesty? They say they've tested the lining and it doesn't leach BPA. THEY tested it. They also failed to let us know that there was BPA in the lining so that we could make an informed choice. Hell yes I'm angry, and justifiably so. And if that makes me one of the "rainbow and moonbeam" crowd, well than okay. I'd go to the moon and back to keep my daughter healthy.

I use a couple of Kor

I use a couple of Kor bottles. I rotate them so one is always in the fridge, they are supposed to be BPA free and look pretty nice:

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

Maki, if you like cool water, why not freeze a bottle of water every night? You say you have a couple of SIGG bottles, so you can swap them around; that way there's always one good to go.

I'd venture to guess that by the time you need to drink, enough would have melted for a good couple of gulps.

As for the insulation, wouldn't one of those foil-lined drink bottle carriers work well? I live in Singapore, and the Daiso here carries all sizes of foil-lined bags. I'm not sure where you'd find them where you live, but it's a thought.

Seems to me any bottle containing a cold drink would sweat anyway, so I don't know that that's necessarily a negative aspect of any kind of re-usable bottle.

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

While I'm not a totally green person, I do suffer immense guilt whenever I purchase bottled beverages, so I did a lot of trial and error to find a bottle that worked for me. I've purchased Klean Kanteens, Sigg, Thermos, and a couple of inexpensive Wal-mart shelf items to see what would work out best.

Had the same problem with the Sigg (and as a result, the Klean Kanteen) as you did. Drinks got lukewarm rather quickly and the sleeve, in addition to being expensive when combined with the bottle, smelled strongly from the wetsuit material it was made from and the colors bled despite numerous washes...sometimes as I was drinking...ick!

Honestly, the best beverage holder I've found has been your plain old thermos, but NOT the one you find in Walmart. Those are really light, and I think their cheap price comes at a reduction in quality during manufacturing as several people have commented that they don't insulate as well as those purchased from online vendors or directly from the Nissan/Thermos website. I purchased mine via Amazon. It has a nice heft to it, and the insulation value is outrageous. I'm serious. I live in S. Georgia and the temps here can reach above 100 easily during the summer. I once left my bottle in the car for a few hours, came back, and while the metal was so hot to the touch that I couldn't hold it...the drink was still cool enough to enjoy. On other occasion, I stupidly poured just-made crystal light into the thermos and placed it in the fridge, thinking it would be cool the next morning. When I woke up, the crystal light was still as lukewarm as when I first poured it in. Had my thermos for two years now, and I still have no complaints.

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

Does is strike anyone else as strange that we're freaking out over what our water is touching, while we eat our lunch out of these cheapo plastic bento boxes? Just wondering... I'm guilty too, I drink out of a Klean Kanteen and I have no idea what my bento boxes are made of.

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

yes, i think it's a little weird too.
sigg used a tiny amount of liner in those bottles, it's been tested, it apparently doesn't leak bpa. they have a new coating now, bottles are exchanged for free, still everybody gets their panties in a bunch! now, come on- i own a sigg, and the liner is visible. it's resistant to heat and acids- what did you think it was made of? it's still a lot less material than in a bottle made entirely of the stuff. i have one that predates the new liner and i'll keep on using it.

there's a lot more unidentified plastic in a bento box than in a little liner in your sigg..

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

I've been buying Japanese Thermos bottles from Amazon Japan:
1. They ship to the US
2. Double wall design, so you can hold it comfortably no matter what is inside.
3. Keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. I can attest to this from personal use. I took tea to work with me one day (7am) and didn't get a chance to drink it until about 2pm. It was still too hot to drink without letting it cool a little. I also use them to take milk with me. Again, the milk is cold no matter how long it takes me to get to it.
4. The interior is stainless steel, just like silverware. None of my several bottles show any sign of rust, and I let them air dry when I wash them.
5. The rubber gaskets are easy to remove (with a little oil). this allows you to clean under and around them properly, avoiding mold, mildew, gunk, etc.
6. They DO NOT leak. My biggest pet peeve with American thermos bottles.
7. They are a little expensive for the size, but with all the other pluses, I think it's worth it.

I have 2 that have just a round opening at the top, after you unscrew the lid. I have 2 that have the flip lid, with a pour spout, and my all time favorite I have one with a strainer basket that fits inside, so you can make tea right in the bottle.

question for DistantSmoke

We've been using the "BPA-free" water bottles made in China (yuk yuk, yes I can hear you) which are clear/colored bodies with metal covers on the bottom & top caps, pull-up "spout". Got blue, smokey, red and clear - very attractive and sturdy. Probably not the best materials, but used only for cold water carry-about.

Distant Smoke, thosee linked thermoses are GLORIOUS looking -- could you
(1) point out which ones you can recommend, and
(2) instruct me how to view these pages in English?

thanks! :-)

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

I came to fall in love with these: they're really cool! I was concerned that they might be easy to pierce accidentally, but they're fine!

Re: The SIGG water bottle controversy and the water bottle ...

Hi all, where can I buy Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottles at a cheap price online? Thanks for recommending!

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