Can Reusable Water Bottles Be Recycled

If you are ready to take the plunge and do your bit for the environment, buying a reusable water bottle should be one of the very first steps you take.

Simply buying any water bottle is not going to get you off the hook when it comes to environmental responsibility.

The type of water bottle that you choose will determine just how much you are doing for the environment in the end. 

Can the water bottle that has caught your eye be recycled?

It is best to do a bit of research to find out, before you make a choice.

Can reusable water bottles be recycled? Yes, most reusable water bottles can be recycled. The recyclability of a reusable water bottle depends on the material that it is made from. Many plastic reusable water bottles cannot be recycled. The following reusable water bottle types can be recycled:

  • Glass reusable water bottles,
  • Stainless steel reusable water bottles,
  • Silicone reusable water bottles,
  • Copper reusable water bottles,
  • PETE plastic reusable water bottles.

Bottled Water Sources

Becoming part of the solution instead of contributing to the global single-use plastic bottle problem is commendable.

If you want to choose a reusable water bottle that can be recycled, you are doing the responsible thing – and you are at just the right place to find out everything you need to know about the recyclability of the various bottles on the market. 

Below we take a look at the various types of water bottles on the market and which are the most recyclable. Now you can make an informed decision!

Can My Reusable Water Bottle be Recycled?

Everyone has their reasons for choosing the water bottle that they do. Some go for the trendy designs and colors that adorn the outside of the bottle. Others pay more attention to what is on the inside – will it keep the water cool and how hygienic is it?

Aesthetics and functionality aside, choosing a reusable water bottle is an important step in the process of living a greener lifestyle. While shopping around, you might give some thought to the material that your chosen water bottle is made out of.

Some reusable bottles are made out of materials that are more recyclable than others.

Below are a few popular types of reusable water bottles. Read on to find out if they can be recycled.

  • Glass Water Bottles

Glass bottles are one of the best types of reusable bottles to use. In fact, they are a top choice. The simple fact of the matter is that glass water bottles are 100% recyclable and they are also infinitely recyclable (they can be recycled forever). This sets glass worlds apart from plastic and many other materials.

When plastic is recycled, it slowly loses its quality until it becomes a grade of plastic that can no longer be recycled. A recycled plastic product is not reformed into the same or a similar product. Glass is different to this. The cycle of use and recycling is endless with glass. And there is even more good news; for every ton of glass recycled, over a ton of natural resources are saved.

There are different recycling options that you can use when you want to recycled glass. If you wish to get rid of your glass water bottle and get a new one, you can:

  • Upcycle the bottle to serve another purpose in your home,
  • Give it away to someone in need,
  • Donate it to a charity store,
  • Turn it into a vase or sauce container,
  • Leave it in your curbside glass recycling bin,
  • Drop it off at a glass-recycling drop off or commercial collection point.

An interesting statistic pertaining to glass is that 3.35 million tons of recycled glass is bought, recycled, and then reproduced in the USA each and every year.

Statistics from the Container Recycling Institute also show that States with drop off points and container deposit zones have a recycling rate of over 63%. Those that do not have container deposits have a much lower recycling rate, but that is hopefully changing.

  • Stainless Steel Water Bottles

If you have a stainless steel reusable water bottle, you are onto a good thing.

Stainless steel bottles are becoming popular for many reasons: they look great, they are easy to clean, they do not leach chemicals, and they will not develop dents and dings if your drop them.

With the right care, you can expect to enjoy using your stainless steel water bottle for a lifetime. However, there may come a time when you want to get rid of your current water bottle and get a new one.

Trends change and so do personal tastes – so what do you do with your existing stainless steel water bottle? Can you recycle it?

Most people assume that because curbside recycling programs do not accept stainless steel bottles, that they are not recyclable. The good news is that they absolutely are recyclable! You just might need to put in a bit of effort into getting the bottles to the right place.

The reason you cannot throw your stainless steel water bottle into the recycling bin with the rest of your waste is that recycling requires the products to be crushed and baled after they have been sorted.

As you can imagine, your tough stainless steel bottle is going to put up quite a bit of resistance to crushing techniques designed for softer materials. This makes it quite tricky for the sorting and recycling plants to deal with these hardy products amongst their other tin and easily recyclable materials.

There is no need to worry though. You can still choose to recycle your stainless steel bottle in a number of other ways. You can:

  • Give the bottle away to someone who needs one or hand it over to a charity store for re-sale.
  • Use it as a sauce bottle.
  • Turn it into a vase for flowers or an ornamental piece with fake flowers.
  • Drop it off or send it to a recycling plant that deals with stainless steel recycling. You can search for a recycling operation close to you on Earth 911.

An interesting fact that most people are not aware of is that stainless steel water bottles are not currently manufactured locally in the United States. Popular brands that are sold in the country include Klean Kanteen, CamelBak, and New Wave Enviro.

  • Silicone Water Bottles

When you buy a silicone water bottle you might think that you need to hang onto it forever because it is not biodegradable.

It must be said that silicone water bottles should only be used by people who are responsible with them. If you have such a bottle, you must be prepared to ensure that it is recycled correctly. 

Silicone water bottles are vastly popular because they are hardy, long lasting and have absolutely no known health risks. It seems like a miracle material in many respects.

You will find it very good news that silicone water bottles can be recycled. Unfortunately, there is bad news and that is: recycling plants that deal with silicone are not always easy to find. You might not find one ready to collect your silicone water bottle as part of a curbside program, but that does not mean that you are out of options.

You can recycle your old silicone water bottle in much the same way as your glass and stainless steel bottles. You can:

  • Repurpose the bottle into a vase, pencil holder, or sauce bottle.
  • Store baking goodies in it (flour) or rice (any other dry food items that require a tightly sealing container).
  • Send it to a recycling plant that deals with silicone recycling. Eco USA Recycling has a hand in recycling silicone rubbers and fluids. A quick internet search for recycling plants in your State will also provide you with a wealth of information on how silicone is recycled in each area of the country.
  • Copper Water Bottles

If you have a glistening new copper water bottle, you might wonder how good it is for the environment in the long run – can it be recycled?

Many people buy copper reusable water bottles because they believe that they provide exceptional health benefits.

Something interesting that most people do not know about copper is that it was used to make bronze war cannons in the Middle Ages. During these times, at the end of a war, the cannons were actually melted down and then used to create functional products for homes and business in the community. 

Copper products that are centuries old can still be found in circulation today – although they might be antiques or collector’s items!

In addition to that, they seem to be the latest shiny trend to hit the reusable water bottle market on a global scale


Regardless of your reasons for choosing a copper water bottle, you might wonder if you can recycle it when you are ready for a new one. The answer is absolutely yes! Much like steel and aluminum water bottles, copper is readily recycled. 

Unfortunately, not all curbside recycling programs will accept copper bottles, but there are drop off points and recycling plants that you can send your bottles too.

It is a good idea to get in touch with local recycling plants in your area that will be able to provide you with helpful advice on where you can take your copper water bottles for recycling, if they do not offer the service themselves.

Amazingly, copper can be melted down and reformed many times without losing its quality and strength, which makes it a great choice for someone looking for a long lasting bottle that can be 100% recycled in the end.

If you are looking for a bottle that lasts a lifetime, it is reasonable to expect this from a copper bottle.

To recycle your copper water bottle, you can:

  • Upcycle it into a decorative ornament in the home (you may need to get crafty and creative with this one).
  • Turn it into a shiny flower vase.
  • Use it as a milk container/bottle or sauce bottle.
  • Store dry foods in it such as sugar, rice, flour.

  • Plastic Water Bottles

Ever walked down the supermarket aisle and stopped at the sight of a colorful shelf of plastic reusable water bottles?

These are much like sports water bottles and can be quite durable and long lasting. Of course, the idea of buying a plastic bottle might make you cringe.

Would you be doing something against the environment by sneaking it into your trolley? The short answer is that while plastic is recyclable to a degree, many plastic bottles are merely discarded.

The world is suffering a mammoth plastic problem and so avoiding plastic at all costs is probably for the best. That being said, it is important to note that plastic reusable water bottles can be recycled, depending on the type of plastic that it is manufactured from.

When plastic is recycled, it loses quality and durability each time. The more it is recycled, the less it can be recycled. It is best to familiarize yourself with ​the different recycling codes that are usually printed on the bottle or the label (a post to learn about this recycling symbols). This will tell you what type of plastic the bottle is made out of and how recyclable it is.

Here is a brief look at the plastic codes that you are most likely to find on your water bottle:

  • PETE (Recycling Symbol No. 1) – this is typically used for soft drinks, fruit juice and water bottles. These plastics are difficult to decontaminate, but they are recycled through a crushing and shredding process. PETE bottles are readily recycled in the USA and currently around 25% are.
  • PP (Polypropylene) (Recycling Symbol No. 5) – this is used for some cups, bottles, and toys where a harder type of plastic is required. Unfortunately, most recycling centers in the United States do not accept this type of plastic grade for recycling. Some recycling centers are changing this, but currently only 3% of these plastics are recycled in the country.
  • Others – (Recycling Symbol No. 7)this is usually plastics that contain a combination of plastic types. This is the common name given to polycarbonate plastics which are readily used for making water bottles. Unfortunately, these bottles are known for their chemical leaching and there are no standards and protocols in place for recycling them.

Why Reusable Water Bottles Are Good for the Environment

As you can see, reusable water bottles really do outshine the rest when it comes to being environmentally friend (and you being environmentally responsible of course).

Some statistics state that around 1,500 throw-away plastic water bottles are used every second. That is a shocking statistic.

By investing a reusable water bottle, you can save yourself a few hundred dollars per year, but it is about more than that. Manufacturing plastic water bottles contributes to the amount of carbon dioxide released into our environment.

By investing in a reusable bottle, you can have the following positive impact on the environment:

  • Reduce the amount of marine animal life death due to plastic in our oceans (approximately 1.1 million marine animals die because of plastic each year).
  • Reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in already over-full landfill sites.
  • Do your bit to reduce energy consumption.

When you consider that only 1 out of every 5 plastic throw-away water bottles is recycled, you begin to realize just how detrimental the convenience of these bottles is to our world. If you are still looking for reasons to ditch the plastic bottle buying habit and get a reusable bottle, consider why reusable bottles are so much more beneficial.

Why reusable water bottles are beneficial:

  • Using one bottle will save you money. Do you know that it costs more to make a plastic water bottle than it does to actually fill it with water?
  • You will lose weight and feel healthier. Having a reusable water bottle always on hand ensures that you are more likely to drink your recommended 8 glasses of water a day. If you have to buy every bottle of water you drink, you will not be so eager to get your daily dose.
  • Most reusable water bottles are BPA-free and do not leach chemicals, smells, and flavors. Unfortunately, plastic water bottles can be quite dangerous to your health.
  • Quality insulated reusable water bottles can be multipurpose. You can keep hot and cold liquids in them.
  • Reusable water bottles are trendy and aesthetically pleasing. Reusable bottles are available in many different colors, styles, and designs. You can choose a bright color or an understated, more professional looking exterior – the choice is yours. You can tote them to work, school, the gym, and even for a day out shopping without worrying about how unprofessional or untrendy you look.


As expected, most reusable water bottles on the market can be recycled. These bottles are typically designed and manufactured with the environment in mind.

If you are opting for a reusable bottle, you are already taking an important step towards helping save the planet from its seemingly insurmountable plastic problem.  

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