By Joe Cox
It's a practice that is commonplace in office up and down the UK. Plastic water bottles bought off the shelves from supermarkets getting refilled using the office water cooler at work. Many of us have done it before and many do it every day. I will admit to occasionally filling up an empty 500ml bottle of Fillongley Spring Water myself to take in the car with me on a long journey or business trip.
But is it safe to keep doing this indefinitely? We’ve discussed before on these pages how important it is to keep your water cooler hygienic but what about that small water bottle you’re refilling; the kind you get from the shelf of your local supermarket or newsagent? How many times should you reuse a 500ml, 750ml or 1ltr plastic bottle before it becomes unhygienic? We’ll start by looking at the bacterial concerns and put them in context.
The problem lies in the small amount of water left in the bottle itself, especially round the rim where the mouth can pass on germs and bacteria which will then breed. It’s worth mentioning here however that plastic is no more dangerous as a breeding ground for germs and bacteria than any other type of packaging or a plate or glass. The only problem is that plastic bottles have a small opening which prevents you from cleaning and scrubbing the inside.
The truth is there isn’t a simple answer to exactly how many times you should reuse a water bottle but it seems pretty accepted that ok to reuse and refill plastic bottles for a short period of time, as long as they are cleaned regularly with warm soapy water. Although this won’t necessarily kill every single individual bacterium you’ve passed onto the water and the water bottle (most probably through your own mouth having contact with it) your body can certainly handle a few bacteria without kicking up too much of a fuss (we all have a lot of it living inside us anyway).
If this still sounds unhygienic to you then you’d probably feel a lot better just using a plastic disposable cup or a glass on your next trip to the water cooler.
In the next instalment we’ll look at chemical concerns and whether they should concern us at all when refilling our water bottle.
© 2017 Office Water Coolers
With over a billion people without access to clean drinking water according to the UN the Whole World Water initiative aims to raise money to address this problem using a concept that is both powerfully simple and extremely rewarding for all those involved. With Ritz-Carlton and Virgin Hotels now on board the project looks to be gathering steam as well.The idea is to encourage the hospitality sector to start filtering its own water on the premises; a practice that also has the wonderful side effect ...
There is good news on the horizon for the watercooler market. The BWCA revealed figures compiled by Zenith International at its annual conference showing a decline in 2013 and 2014 but a return to growth in 2015. Despite a return to growth in 2011 the continuing economic instability across the EU has clearly taken the energy out of any bounce back. Zenith believe that the growth will be steady as well, with an annual growth of 0.6% on the previous year.Britain leads the rest of Europe on both ...
If you’ve been to a pub or club in Devon recently you may have noticed a something altogether unfamiliar lodged between the familiar sight of gambling machines and pool tables; a watercooler. Project H20 is a new initiative being rolled out to offer partygoers and revellers the chance to get themselves free cups of ice cold water when they drink. The idea is to reduce alcohol related crime by enabling people to consumer water as they drink, diluting the effects of alcohol.Although pubs and clubs ...
Water is the source of life on Earth. Without it our single celled ancestors wouldn’t have even got started down the evolutionary path and ended up as us. Water in every sense of the word is life. But water can also bring death as it acts as diseases such cholera, dysentery and typhoid can live and proliferate within it. We all take water for granted, whether washing with it or drinking it. But that is not a luxury afforded to a sixth of the world’s population who live in regions where ...