I have drunk from a disposable plastic water bottle only once in the past three years — which I consider something of a feat considering how inundated we are with bottled water. This is because packaging water in throw-away bottles makes me furious.


It's representative of so many issues, all in one little bottle.


Briefly, bottling water often drains local aquifers where it's bottled; trucking (or flying) water uses nonrenewable fossil fuels (as do the bottles it's packaged in); it assumes that water isn't just a basic human right that should be available to everyone in a nonpolluted state; and, in the end, it creates more garbage and plastic pollution. Oh, and there's plenty of evidence that water in plastic bottles contains more bacteria and other toxins (it's unregulated by the FDA since it's not a food), and to top it all off, when water bottles heat up, it's possible that they can leach carcinogenic plasticizers into your water.


I love that personal water bottles are de riguer these days, and I prefer those that are made from glass, even though that's a bit heavier. I just plain don't trust plastics (even if they say they are BPA-free) for health reasons. Also, I don't like the way water tastes in plastic. Glass or stainless steel bottles keep water fresher-tasting and naturally cooler, even in warm weather. Glass never leaches, and is a totally natural material that is easily recyclable and biodegradable. And for some reason, I think all the most attractive bottles on the market are made from glass.


As a bit of a water bottle expert (samples of almost every one are sent to me, and I try them all out), the bottles below are those that work best for me, and I've detailed the reasons why.


Oh, and you're probably wondering about the breakability problems inherent to glass; I've found that to be an almost moot point, as I've not broken a glass water bottle yet (but in the past, I've broken plenty of plastic ones after they've become brittle over time). Each of these has a protective layer, and is make of heavy-duty glass, so yes, they can break, but they are unlikely to). 



Bkr has the loveliest bottles I've yet seen, in a just-right size for tossing in one's bag. A simple glass bottle is covered with a pretty, removable, luminous silicone cover. All can be washed in the dishwasher, but I just hand rinse mine most evenings. These bottles come in an assortment of pretty colors and stay quite clean without too much trouble. 


Lifefactory began by making baby bottles in response to parents' (now legitimized) fears about BPA in plastic baby bottles. But soon the company realized that adults wanted a great-looking glass bottle of their own. The larger size is great for extra-sweaty workouts, and the design is fun and functional at the same time. 


Takeya's glass bottles are also covered with a dishwasher-OK silicone sleeve that has a handy window so you can see exactly how much water you have left. Available in lots of lovely colors, this 16-ounce container has a wide mouth, which is great if you like to add ice to your water bottle. 

Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

Three stylish glass water bottles
These bottles get high marks for both form and function.