One of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves is to stay adequately hydrated, and one of the healthiest things we can do for our planet is protect it from our wasteful garbage. At the intersection of the two is a simple habit: using a reusable water bottle instead of the single use plastic variety. We’re always looking for ways to help readers make the switch, so we took Clean Bottle up on their offer to test their new Tritan Square Bottle line.
The Square Bottle ($11.99) stands out from your typical reusable bottle for two reasons: It’s square (obviously), and the bottom twists off like the top. Its shape makes it great for storing and keeps it from rolling away when dropped, and the removable bottom allows for easier cleaning—the one thing I’ve always lamented about other bottles. Its construction with Tritan is durable, light and BPA free, and the carrying handle on its top allows for ergonomic transport.
The base opening fits two accessory pieces: Clean Bottle’s own Fast Flow Filter ($5.95) and Fruit Infuser ($4.95). The natural carbon filter removes chemicals and other contaminants as you fill then remains securely in the bottle after replacing the bottom cap. The Fruit Infuser works the same way, holding fruit pieces in a long core through the center of the bottle. If fresh fruit is too much of a hassle, Clean Bottle also sells Bloom Infusion Pods ($9.95/6 pack), similar to a large tea bag filled with freeze dried fruits and stevia leaf for a sweet infusion that lasts through multiple refills.
What I like most about this set is how easy it makes it to drink water regularly and actually enjoy it. There are plenty of (bad) reasons not to drink water: It’s boring. It’s expensive. Tap water doesn’t taste good. Disposable bottles are convenient, but washing and carrying a reusable bottle is annoying. Blah blah blah. The Square and its accessories make these excuses irrelevant. While I’m not a fruit infusion fan myself—I prefer 100% juice or 100% water, nothing in between—I tried the infuser with a few of my favorite citruses and found it easy to use and even easier to clean afterward. The filter is just as user-friendly and great to use in places where tap or fountain water isn’t so tasty or safe, and the handle is handy for transporting it on the go.
While the Square makes a great alternative to disposable bottles or not drinking water at all, there are a few downsides that keep it from being a total staple for me. Its square shape satisfies my deeply-rooted need to maximize storage space and pack things like I’m playing Tetris, but it makes it uncomfortable to hold while running and difficult to stand securely in a cup holder. Since the purpose of a reusable bottle is to take it with you and use it, not store it, this causes me a bit of friction. So too does the open mouth of the bottle. In order to drink from it without spilling, I have to stop moving and remove the top entirely. This is challenging when I can’t use both hands and gets in the way of workouts when I want quick and spill proof access to water while I move. I acknowledge, however, that this negative for me is a positive for many others, like Allen, who prefer the open mouth over flip tops and straws. I didn’t try the Bloom pods, but I wouldn’t purchase them as they come in individually wrapped packaging. The website doesn’t say whether the wrapping is recyclable, but even if it is, I would be a bigger fan of more eco-friendly, non wasteful packaging. Until then, fresh fruits and bulk teas are the only things I’d use in the infuser.
The last element up for review is the material: Tritan plastic. Though it’s durable, colorful, light and BPA-free, there’s a significant debate happening around it in the plastics arena. An Environmental Health study reports Tritan and plastics like it release other chemicals with estrogenic activity (EA) and natural sunlight increases this release. The study was led by George Bittner, neuroscience professor and founder of both CertiChem and PlastiPure, a plastics testing company and maker of plastics free of EA chemicals, respectively. Eastman Chemical Company, Tritan’s manufacturer and a competitor of PlastiPure, argues Tritan is 100% safe and asserts tests from third-party labs have shown it is free of EA chemicals. So, if plastic safety is a big priority for you, it may be worth it to read up on Tritan studies… or you could simply opt for Clean Bottle’s original stainless steel Square.
- Square shape allows for easy storage, prevents rolling
- Dual end openings for easy cleaning, filter/infuser use
- Ergonomic handle
- Price: Bottle $12, filter $6, infuser $5
- Accessories: Filter, Infuser
- Durable, colorful, light and BPA-free
- Square shape makes it difficult to carry and secure in a cup holder
- Bloom pods are over packaged
- No straw/spout makes it difficult to use while moving/exercising
- Safety of Tritan debated