Reusing water bottles is not a healthy decision and can cause harmful bacterial infections that can set within your body and cause contamination.
Fungi and bacteria can grow in damp or partially full bottles after the bottles have been opened and exposed to air. These bacteria thrive in warm, moist areas.
“Bacteria reproduces every 30 minutes so one could only imagine how much bacteria that could be taken in the system,” Rolle said. The bacteria found in plastic bottles can come from the sugars in the mouth or any dirt that comes in contact with the mouth of the bottle.
Roderick Rolle, assistant professor of biology, detailed potential infections that can occur as a result of reusing bottles. “Possible infections like E. coli, streptococcus, which is strep throat, and diarrhea may consume your body and make you very ill,” Rolle said.
Most students are not knowledgeable of the effects of recycled bottles on the body. Plastic bottles contain a carcinogenic element. When the bottles are left in heat they melt, causing these elements to leak into the water, thus making it harmful to your body. Water bottles are only safe for one-time usage.
Isha Brown, 20, a junior elementary education student from Miami, said she was unaware of the danger behind reusing water bottles.
“My family usually tries to recycle so when I came to college I decided to do the same, especially with my water bottles,” Brown said. “But I didn’t know that this type of recycling was not good recycling, so now I plan to stop.”
As an athlete, Lauren Pitcairn, 19, a sophomore criminal justice student from San Diego, reused water bottles in order to stay hydrated.
“I used to reuse water bottles all the time when I ran track,” Pitcairn said. “I would drink all the water and refill it.”
Pitcairn said after learning the harmful effects she no longer does it.
This applies not only to water bottles, but to the reuse of any bottle, including Gatorade, Powerade or any juices.
“I never recycle water bottles, usually I just buy a new one,” said Jamille Wade, 20, junior accounting student from New Orleans.
“But it is good to know this information so I definitely know not to reuse a plastic bottle.”
There are some bottles made strictly for reusing purposes, sold at Publix and health food stores. They have a special filtering system that makes them OK to use. It’s better to invest in bottles that are made for multiple uses than to recycle a bottle.
“I use these types of bottles because they are convenient, and I don’t have to worry about bacterias when I continuously use them,” said Jada Hoggard, 21, junior psychology student from Miami.
Rolle advised people who prefer reusing bottles to sanitize them to the best of their ability.
“It is very important to rinse a used plastic water bottle out in order to kill infectious germs,” Rolle said. “Clean the bottle thoroughly with a little bleach and or warm soapy water if you choose to reuse it.”