In Praise of a Water Bottle

At the airport on the way to Austin last week, I bought a bottle of water. Or, more precisely, I bought the plastic container that the water came in. The water was just a bonus. The bottle, by SEI Water, is shaped like a large hip flask or canteen instead of the typical round cylinder, and it feels sturdier too. I spent a little bit more for this water bottle because I liked the form factor. The bottle drew comments everywhere I went, because (and here is the point) when I was done with it, I didn’t throw it out like I do with every other water bottle. I kept refilling it, rather than discard it. It fit so well in my hand and looked so good with its sleek Helvetica Neue logo, I didn’t want to get rid of it once its initial “use” was up. Five days later, I still have it. An airport water bottle.

That’s good design.

7 thoughts on “In Praise of a Water Bottle

  1. I hate to be a buzzkill, but most disposable bottles are manufactured using PET, which contains DEHA, a potentially carcinogenic chemical that begins to leach from the plastic with increasing usage, cleaning, etc. This is why manufacturers bill these bottles as ‘single use’. It’s becoming common knowledge that you you should recycle your plastic bottles after first-use (or certainly after no more than a handful of uses), or else risk increasing DEHA contamination. Or if you’re really concerned about reusing stuff, go get yourself a nice good looking, tough-as-nails SIGG bottle that you can use indefinately, and stop buying disposable ones. Now THAT’S good design.

  2. Yep, the Sei bottle is made from PET, as mentioned in their press release:
    But, checking further, it seems that PET bottles aren’t going to be toxic after many re-fills. The rumour came from an email chain letter, the source of which is a student’s thesis that wasn’t peer reviewed, and was probably incorrect due contamination in the lab.
    DEHA doesn’t naturally occur in PET, though is used as a “plasticiser”, but DEHA isn’t classified as a human carcinogen (say the US FDA).
    The most important thing when refilling bottles is to make sure bacteria doesn’t build up.

  3. And a European source:
    Is there any truth in the scare story circulating on the internet about “a potentially carcinogenic chemical”, referred to as DEHA, migrating into water from plastic water bottles?
    There is no truth in this story whatsoever.

    “There may be reasons not to refill water bottles, but that has to do with possible bacterial contamination.”
    European Council for Plasticisers and Intermediates

  4. Good design, yes. Good design for the company, no. Unless after say 5-6 uses it’s starting to need replacement. Then because you love this bottle so much you will seek out their brand over all others and in the crowded bottled water market buy their water. 🙂

  5. Get with the program, DAN!
    this design has been around for years..
    the first time I saw it was in 2006 in NYC…
    Fred Water, ma’ man!
    not only that… this brooklyn based company did something great..
    turned the bottle.. the water.. the image of the company into a person..
    They talk about “him” on the bottle, the website, and the shipping container..
    if you check out you’ll see this “roaming gnome” fanbase around fred.
    And honestly, I’m only partially ashamed to say that I bought into it too, and had a case shipped to me in Phoenix.

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