What Are Collapsible Water Bottles Made Of (And Are They Safe?)


Carrying a water bottle around seems to have become the norm, especially when commuting or traveling. It is difficult to get the standard 8 glasses of water a day if you do not have a water supply close at hand. Buying plastic bottle after plastic bottle of water throughout the day, just to have something close at hand to drink, is not only irresponsible in terms of environmental impact, but also expensive. No one wants to know that they are costing themselves and the environment at the same time. There is also the dilemma of plastic and stainless steel water bottles being bulky and taking up valuable space in handbags, briefcases and hand luggage (not to mention landfill sites at the end of their lifespan). And thus the concept of the collapsible water bottle was born.

What are collapsible water bottles made of? Are they safe? Collapsible water bottles are typically made of silicone material. Safe collapsible water bottles are made from food-grade silicone material. The product should be marked as BPA-free, 100% non-toxic, and contain zero plastic. Some collapsible bottles on the market are only made from 100% FDA approved materials. Always check the label to see if the collapsible water bottle is safe.

Is the collapsible water bottle the right product for you? What makes one collapsible water bottle better or safer than another? And what are the benefits of using a collapsible water bottle? Many people are looking for the answers to these very questions. If you would also like to find out, read on.

Bottled Water Sources

What is Food-Grade Silicone?

There is more than one kind of silicone found on the market. There is food grade silicone, which collapsible water bottles are made of, and there is medical grade silicone used in medical environments. In many instances, people confuse “silicon” with silicone.

What is the difference between silicon and silicone? Silicon is a naturally occurring chemical element consisting primary of silica. On the other hand, silicone is a synthetic substance. It is a rubbery, flexible material that is commonly used for manufacturing food containers and similar. Silicon is quite different as it is used as a component of semiconductors, as a vital material in the chemical industry, and the like. While silicon is used in the making of silicone, it as a product on its own has no place in the making of food grade containers and items.

That being said, food grade silicone is a version of silicone that has been designed and tested as 100% safe to be used with food substances or liquids intended for human consumption. Food grade silicone does not stain food or other dishes and is absolutely non-toxic.

Food grade silicone has several attractive properties, some of which include:

  • Very low thermal and electrical conductivity,
  • Non-toxic and non-leaching,
  • Water repellant,
  • Easily removes from most surfaces except glass,
  • No change in physical properties whether exposed to very low or very high temperatures.

Of course, not all silicone bottles are made equal. One should always be cautious that they are not investing in a silicone product that contains fillers. Fillers can contaminate the product and that is where the potential danger comes in. In order to ensure that you have a pure silicone product, you can do a pinch test. Hold the plastic bottle firmly while pinching and twisting a flat surface. If the product contains fillers, it will show a slight white color. If the bottle is pure silicone, it will not change color at all.

How is the Silicone in Collapsible Water Bottles Made?

While silicon and silicone are two different things, silicone is made from silicon which is derived from silica. In order to create silicon, silica is heated to 1800 degrees Celsius. Once the silicon is cool, it is ground into a fine powdery dust.

Methyl chloride is added to the powder and then the mixture is heated, activating a chemical reaction that results in Methyl chlorosilane forming. Dimethyldichlorosilane is extracted after a distillation process.

Condensation must be used to convert the extract into polydimethylsiloxane – to do this water is simply added to the mixture. Thereafter, the product undergoes a process to convert it to Polysiloxane, which is the type of rubber silicone that is used to create kitchenware, bottles, and food grade silicones products.

It must be noted that while the FDA certifies silicone as 100% food grade safe, the material does become unstable when exposed to temperatures of 148 degrees Celsius or more. There is not enough evidence to support that the material may become unsafe at these temperatures, but you probably will not be heating your water bottle to this temperature anyway, so your use of the product should be absolutely safe.

What Is a Silicone Collapsible Water Bottle and How Does it Work?

A collapsible water bottle is the solution to many people’s hydration concerns. Regular glass, plastic, and stainless steel water bottles are bulky, sometimes heavy, and uncomfortable to carry around all day. The silicone collapsible water bottle flattens into an empty disc-like form that is usually no more than an inch thick when it is empty. You can pop it into your pocket, handbag or briefcase, and it will not take up much space at all. When you fill the collapsible water bottle, it expands into a full-size bottle. It is simply squashed down into its compact form when the water is finished. These bottles can usually contain around 17 ounces of liquid, but there are bigger options available.

The flexibility of the silicone material used to create the water bottle makes it easy to expand and collapse the bottle as required. The silicone material is also durable enough to withstand frequent expanding and collapsing, without showing wear and tear, or breaking.

Why Silicone Collapsible Water Bottles Are Safer Than Plastic Bottles

Nowadays, there is a great deal of focus on using food grade materials that do not leach harmful chemicals and do not poison us as we use them. Some water bottles on the market that are manufactured from certain plastics or metals are not particularly safe for continuous use. Often this is because of the grade or quality of the plastic or metal used.

Here is why collapsible water bottles made from silicone are safe:

  •  Silicone is BPA-free and better for human health.

The most popular collapsible water bottles on the market are made from silicone that is BPA-free. What is BPA and why is it unhealthy? BPA or Bisphenol A is an industrial chemical that is unfortunately used in a variety of plastic food containers and bottles. According to scientists, BPA has the ability to mimic the structure of estrogen.  When BPA levels within a human rise due to consumption of the chemical, it can affect cell repair, growth, energy levels, reproduction, as well as fetal development. It can also wreak havoc with a person’s thyroid hormones. In short, BPA is not particularly good for anyone. Luckily, silicone bottles do not contain BPA, which means that you will not have to worry about these health concerns.

  • Collapsible water bottles are made of food-grade silicone material.

Collapsible water bottles made from silicone consist of an almost-100% natural material that is non-toxic and deemed “food-grade” safe. There are no known health risks of silicone. As a result, it is safe to assume that it is absolutely safe for humans to store food items in this type of silicone. Non-toxic, BPA-free silicone does not leach or produce hazardous chemicals when exposed to high and low heat fluctuations. Plastic water bottles simply cannot compete in this department as they produce chemicals and leach when exposed to high temperatures – and this leads to contamination of the water with harmful chemicals. You can leave you collapsible water bottle, still filled with water, in your car all day and have complete peace of mind that the warm water that is waiting for you when you return, is not going to poison you or put your health at risk.

  • Silicone is an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic.

Silicone is a hardy (highly flexible) and durable material that lasts far longer than most plastics. This means that you will not have to replace your silicone collapsible bottles too regularly. Unlike throw-away plastic water bottles that end up in landfill sites, silicone is readily recycled in most areas. The fact that it does not out gas or leach dioxin, lead, or phthalates makes it safer for the environment even when it does end up in a landfill site or the ocean.

How Does the Material of the Collapsible Water Bottle make it a Good Option?

There is a reason – actually many reasons – why people are switching their plastic water bottles for healthier, safer, and environmentally friendlier options, such as silicone collapsible bottles and stainless steel bottles. The silicone that these bottles are made out of makes them highly beneficial to those who invest in them. Here are a few reasons why most people opt for a collapsible water bottle:

  • Light weight – take up minimal space when empty.

If you are on the move, you do not particularly want to tote an empty hard-material bottle around with you, especially when it is already empty. With the collapsible water bottle, the fact that they are manufactured from silicone is a major benefit. The bottle is extremely compact when it is empty and can be easily stored. These silicone bottles are around 80% lighter than plastic bottles. They do not take up much space at all and best of all, they do not get in the way when you have already got your hands full.

  • More durable and cheaper than other options.

Silicone collapsible water bottles are hardier and also cheaper than other bottles on the market.

  • Gentle on the Environment.

Silicone bottles are considered better for the environment. They are the official “eco-friendly” choice.

  • Quick and easy to clean. 

Silicone as a material generally does not absorb smells and odors and is extremely easy to clean.

  • Ideal for all temperatures.

Silicone collapsible water bottles can hold hot and cold liquids and can even be frozen safely. Exposure to fluctuating temperatures has no impact on the safety of the material (no leaching or chemical releases).

Are Collapsible Water Bottles Recyclable

Everyone wants to know if their new water bottle is recyclable. With environmental responsibility becoming more prevalent on a global basis, it is actually your duty to ensure that your water bottle is the most environmentally friendly option.  If you too want to be part of the plastic solution and not a contributing factor to the global plastic tragedy, you will be happy to hear that silicone collapsible water bottles are recyclable.

Silicone is an inert material that has no reaction to other compounds and elements.  Silicone is also not hazardous to your health, but then again, it also is not biodegradable. Silicone has been deemed non-hazardous waste to soil organisms and aquatic life. The good news is that while it is not biodegradable, it can be effectively recycled after an entire lifetime of hard work.  It is an environmentally friendly product if users take responsibility for their pollution contribution and actually recycle their bottle when it is no longer useful to them. It can be donated to charity, repurposed to become something else useful in the home, or you can send it to the nearest silicone recycling plant.

There are two places that you can reach out to regarding recycling your old silicone collapsible water bottles in your area. These are:

  • ECO U.S.A. – this recycling plant helps both businesses and individuals with their silicone recycling. The company is known to assist entities comply with the guidelines in place on a federal, state, and local level. They do not just recycle and reprocess silicone, they can arrange collection too.
  • Harmony Recycling – this recycling plant recycles all kinds of silicone products. For businesses or clients with large quantities of silicone for recycling, they offer pick up. In fact, they offer less-than-truckload and half to full truck load pickups in the United States as well as Canada. For small quantities, there is always the option of sending silicone products to them.

If these two initiatives are unable to handle recycling in your area at the time that you need it, they will be able to provide you with recycling advice and point you in the right direction.

How to Choose the Right Collapsible Water Bottle

Choosing the right collapsible water bottle will require some forethought. Think about what you will use it for, how much water you need with you on a daily basis and what features would best suit your needs. Some of the most popular features of silicone collapsible water bottles include:

  • Highly durable BPA-free material (check the label – if it does not say “BPA free”, you simply cannot be sure).
  • Leak proof cap.
  • Dishwasher safe (check the label to make sure that it is in fact dishwasher safe).

Top Silicone Collapsible Water Bottles 

Deciding which of the many collapsible water bottles on the market is the best to buy, can be tough. They all seem to offer something of exceptional value. There are a few brands and models that are easily identified as good quality options to choose. After a bit of research, the following appeared to be top choices:

  • Que Bottle 

This collapsible water bottle is available in 12 ounce and 20 ounce options and a choice of 15 different colors. The beneficial features of the product are listed as follows: BPA-Free and plastic free, 100% food grade silicone, dishwasher safe, taste and odor free, light weight and compact, leak proof, shock proof and with a wide mouth in order to fit ice cubes inside. According to their website, for every bottle sold, 10% of the funds are donated to help protect an acre of land situated within the Peruvian Amazon Forest.

  • Hydaway Bottle

This collapsible water bottle is super compact when collapsed – just 1.5 inches. The beneficial features of the product are listed as follows: wide mouth for easy inside hand washing, dishwasher safe, BPA-free plastic, food grade silicone, comes with optional carbon filters to remove odors and taste from your water as you drink it. The Hydaway bottle is available in a 17 ounce size.

  • Monument Bottle

This 22 ounce collapsible bottle is available in blue, pink, and grey. The beneficial features of the product are listed as follows: BPA-free, insulated, leak proof cap, odor free, and a one-touch cap.

Last Word

Collapsible water bottles are made of silicone in most instances. You will find a few plastic water bottles also advertised as “collapsible” but these are typically foldable water bottles. The silicone used to create truly collapsible water bottles is 100% safe for use according to the FDA. If you are looking for an environmentally friendly alternative to single use plastic water bottles and want to ensure that you are not putting your health at risk, a silicone collapsible water bottle is viable option. In fact, it is a really good choice.

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