We often get this question from potential customers and the reasons this question gets asked are at least twofold. Let’s explore each of those reasons in more detail.
So some people ask the question of whether plastic 5-gallon bottles can be safely reused. The answer is a resounding yes! All of our plastic 5-gallon (and 3-gallon) jugs are made from 100% PET (BPA-free). They’re thick and sturdy. When we receive empty bottles back from customers, each and every bottle gets visually inspected and then sniffed for odd odors. Why do we do that? Because we never know what people have done with our bottles after drinking the contents! And we’ve seen it all. Kids put crayons in them. There can be leaves in them. I’ve seen them returned having been used to make grain alcohol punch – you name it and we’ve seen it! That’s why we inspect every single bottle thoroughly. If any bottle has the slightest problem – it’s set aside for either further cleaning or is recycled.
Of course, that’s not all. We then was the bottles in a ridiculously powerful dishwasher kinda machine – it washes the bottles in a hot soapy solution for 60 seconds. It does so at about 80 PSI of pressure. By contrast you dishwasher probably washed at about 10 psi. Every bottle literally gets about 4 gallons of hot wash water blasted into it. The outside is similarly scrubbed with the same solution. By the end of that 60 seconds – those babies are clean as a whistle.
Then, we rinse and sanitize every bottle for another 2 minutes and then we rinse them out with the finished product water. And THAT’s why it’s safe to reuse them!
Small Single-Serve Bottles
This is usually the most common reason why people ask us if it’s safe to reuse plastic bottles. They’re asking about the small bottles – like 12 ounce bottles or 1/2 liter bottles that everyone carries around with them. There are a few internet comments out there claiming that the small bottles should NEVER be re-used. That is both true and not true. Some people think that – because they’re read the warnings on the internet – that it’s never safe to reuse the small bottles. Well, here’s the real scoop on that. many small bottles come into contact with your lips and mouth – which unfortunately, have lots of bacteria on them. Those bacteria can get sucked back into the bottle and then, that means they’re in the bottle now. That’s not an optimal situation for safely reusing a bottle. It’s kinda like a glass in you kitchen – how many times would you reuse the same glass without washing it? probably not very many – and for your children – not many at all! So – the issue here is about cleaning the bottles. the small bottles have a SMALL opening – making them much harder to clean. You can’t really put them in a dishwasher. You COULD hand wash them – just like you would a small glass bottle – but it is difficult and cumbersome. So, the internet commentary concludes that most people don’t have the time or patience to properly clean the small bottles. OF COURSE, they’re cleanable – it’s just not that easy. They’re perfectly safe to re-use if you properly clean them!!