Outdoor Retailer: BPA Free

BPA Free times 4 The outdoor industry has a new catchphrase: “BPA Free.”

In the wake of the BPA scare that Trailspace has followed over the past year, all the major water bottle manufacturers (and all the minor ones I’ve seen) have stopped manufacturing polycarbonate bottles and switched to materials that don’t contain the chemical compound bisphenol-A. (For a primer see our article “Building a Better Water Bottle”)

It seems as if every Outdoor Retailer exhibitor whose product might conceivably touch water -- bottles, hydration bladders, even filters -- has a “BPA Free” sign somewhere in their booth. It’s become a major selling point, although with everyone making the switch it’s no longer the differentiator it was just six months ago.

For the most part companies have replaced the polycarbonate in their bottles with a new material called Easton Tritan, a hard, clear plastic that looks and feels pretty much like the polycarbonate it’s replacing. There are also a slew of stainless steel bottles coming to market – far too many to name here, but all being touted as “BPA Free.”

The BPA scare gained steam very quickly in and appears to have shaken out in the marketplace just as rapidly. Keep in mind that the product lines I’m seeing here are, for the most part, arriving in stores either this fall or next spring. There are still polycarbonate bottles in stores, but you’ll know them because they’re the only ones that don’t say “BPA Free.” By this time next year they should be long gone. (As will, hopefully, the need to proclaim “BPA Free” ad nauseum.)

Filed under: Outdoor Retailer, Gear News


Fred Sabine
0 reviewer rep
3 forum posts
August 16, 2008 at 12:52 p.m. (EDT)

What I've not seen anyone address is what do we do with all the BPA polycarbonate bottles almost everyone has (I have at least 8 to 10). Nalgene, probably the largest producer of polycarbonate bottles with BPA, could have scored a big public relations coup by offering to buy back, or give a discount to anyone wanting to replace their Nalgene bottle with one the same size that's BPA free. But, no, all Nalgene and all the other bottle makers want to do is sell us new bottles, probably at new (higher) prices.

1,663 reviewer rep
3,956 forum posts
August 16, 2008 at 2:30 p.m. (EDT)

Yes, there should be a trade in program of some kind, let them add .50 cents to the retail price and give customers a "rebate" at the register with a trade in, I don't care how it's done really.
Entirely too many of these bottles will end up in landfills.

I plan on using mine for alternative purposes as much as possible, but I have at least 20 or so. They do make good watertight containers.

110 reviewer rep
762 forum posts
August 17, 2008 at 10:02 a.m. (EDT)

They ARE recyclable in some larger areas. I am collecting as many as I can from friends/family and I will be driving them to a large recycling center when I visit the area next.

As I said in a previous post: Save the lids - they're safe (for now) and you never know when you may need a spare.

I now pack my first aid kit in one of my old bottles, and I keep one in my dry bag for extra protection for my phone, cash, meds and other important stuff.

Remember: "Refill Not Landfill" doesn't have to mean liquids.

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