So just how disgusting are our water bottles?

Even the in the world’s most regulated countries, municipal tap water isn’t bacteria-free, and even when it’s been chlorinated and treated, the levels of bacteria present grow into alarming levels even at room temperature. Using a filter could make it worse, and water bottles are great at harbouring germs at alarming levels thanks to the added nutrients and bacteria from our backwash. Single use plastic bottles are a solution but it’s terrible for the environment and it’s costly. It seems like a war we can’t win. That’s why we created Nuvoe.

Bacterial concentrations in tap water.

Back in 2018, the Scientific American wrote an extensive piece titled “A Wave of Resurgent Epidemics Has Hit the U.S.” [1] (which on a side note, is a quite interesting article given our current pandemic-ridden context in 2020). One of the most striking pieces of data from this piece is that over 19 million Americans are sickened by microbe-contaminated water every year, a number further corroborated by the New York Times. [2] That’s quite a hefty number.

That’s okay, I use a filter.

The vast majority of us refill our water bottles from this municipal tap water. Some choose to first filtrate the water with something akin to a Brita filtration pitcher/jug. Studies that have looked at how these filters change the microbial quality of the drinking water show results opposite to the desired direction. Over 70% of the filters in the experiment had bacterial counts increase up to 6,000 CFU/mL, far higher than the 100–500 CFU/mL recommended for drinking water. [6]

Water bottles, the perfect incubator?

So what happens when we refill our water bottles with this water then? It’s not good news. One particular study assessing the bacterial quality of the water has shown that over 60% of water bottles had a HPC result higher than 500 CFU/mL, and over 70% had a HPC result higher than 100 CFU/mL. [7]

I’ll just drink bottled water.

It’s not surprising then that people would prefer to buy and drink from single-use plastic bottles. However, that’s not a sustainable solution. Waste from single-use plastic bottles are a huge problem. Globally humans buy a million plastic bottles per minute. Unfortunately 91% of all that plastic is not recycled. Most of these bottles end up in landfills or in the oceans, and PET (the plastic most commonly used for single use bottles) takes over 400 years to decompose. [15]

Enter Nuvoe.

Nuvoe uses UV-C light to sanitise both your water and your water bottle. UV-C light penetrates the cell wall, tears apart DNA and destroys the nucleic acids of microorganisms. By upgrading your bottle with Nuvoe every time you refill just give your bottle a shake to activate a cycle, and all the above goes away. It’s as simple as that!

  1. Duhigg C. Millions in U.S. Drink Dirty Water, Records Show (Published 2009). The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/08/business/energy-environment/08water.html. Published December 7, 2009.
  2. Robertson W, Brooks T. The Role of HPC in Managing the Treatment and Distribution of Drinking-Water.; 2003. https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/water-quality/guidelines/HPC12.pdf?ua=1.
  3. US EPA. National Primary Drinking Water Regulations. US EPA. https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/national-primary-drinking-water-regulations. Published March 22, 2018.
  4. Geldreich EE, Nash HD, Reasoner DJ, Taylor RH. The Necessity of Controlling Bacterial Populations in Potable Waters: Community Water Supply. Journal (American Water Works Association). 1972;64(9):596–602. https://www.jstor.org/stable/41266810.
  5. Daschner FD, Rüden H, Simon R, Clotten J. Microbiological contamination of drinking water in a commercial household water filter system. European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases. 1996;15(3):233–237. doi:10.1007/bf01591360
  6. Sun X, Kim J, Behnke C, et al. The Cleanliness of Reusable Water Bottles: How Contamination Levels are Affected by Bottle Usage and Cleaning Behaviors of Bottle Owners. Food Protection Trends. 2017;37(6):392–402.
  7. Oliphant JA, Ryan MC, Chu A. Bacterial Water Quality in the Personal Water Bottles of Elementary Students. Canadian Journal of Public Health. 2002;93(5):366–367. doi:10.1007/bf03404571
  8. Matheus Baffi Silveira, Estevao Scudese, Gilmar Weber Senna, et al. Microbial Contamination in Shaker Bottles among Members of Fitness Centers. Journal of Exercise Physiology Online. 2018;21(4):134–143.
  9. Smith J. Just How Filthy Is Your Reusable Water Bottle? Runner’s World. https://www.runnersworld.com/news/a25671476/water-bottle-bacteria/. Published January 2, 2019.
  10. Bryan C. How disgusting is your water bottle, really? Mashable. https://mashable.com/article/how-often-should-i-clean-my-water-bottle/. Published October 10, 2019.
  11. Walden L. Water bottles contain hundreds of thousands of bacteria if not properly cleaned. Country Living. https://www.countryliving.com/uk/homes-interiors/interiors/a29423391/cleaning-reusable-bottle/. Published October 12, 2019.
  12. Asbrink H. Wait, You Need to Clean Your Water Bottle How Often? Food52. https://food52.com/blog/23711-how-often-should-you-wash-reusable-water-bottle. Published January 28, 2019.
  13. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Food Code 2013. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/food/fda-food-code/food-code-2013. Published 2019.
  14. Nace T. We’re Now At A Million Plastic Bottles Per Minute — 91% Of Which Are Not Recycled. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2017/07/26/million-plastic-bottles-minute-91-not-recycled/. Published July 26, 2017

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