Alternatives to Plastic Bottles: 17 Eco Choices for the Planet-Savvy Consumer


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Reviewed by Godfrey Ogbo

Glass Bottles, Reusable Plastic Bottles, Aluminum Water Bottles, Aluminum Cans, and Steel Bottles are some of the best alternatives to plastic bottles.

Facing today’s reality, we have a serious plastic problem and it’s getting worse daily. Official statistics say over 12 million tons of plastic bottles end up in our oceans yearly, a weight equivalent to 20 thousand refrigerators. 

Various bodies are calling for the world to transition from the plastic lifestyle and find sustainable alternatives to plastic bottles. 

In this article is a compiled list of the 17 best alternatives to plastic bottles; some of these alternatives are commonplace, while some are new genius inventions.

Why Should We Switch From Plastics Exactly?

Alternatives to Plastic Bottles

You might be wondering, apart from the apparent waste problem, what else is the issue with plastic bottles or plastics in general? After all, they are convenient. 

First of all, plastics contain chemicals called BPAs or Bisphenol A, especially when exposed to heat, which can leach into water or food and can cause cancer or severe hormonal imbalances.

Plastic is also known for being non-biodegradable; it simply breaks down into tinier pieces, which could be eaten by aquatic life or wildlife and can cause severe poisoning. It takes plastic up to 1,0000 years to degrade completely. 

In addition, the environmental impact of producing plastic bottles is dangerous; it takes as much fuel is needed to keep 1 million cars running to produce plastic bottles, which means serious carbon emissions.

Now that you have understood exactly why Plastic Bottles Are Bad, let’s look at some good alternatives.

17 Eco-Friendly Alternatives To Plastic Bottles

1. Glass Bottles

Glass bottles were the original bottles and have always been there even before plastic was invented. Glass does not leach into food or water, it’s quite clean and significantly easier to produce, and it can come in various beautiful forms and shapes. 

Glass is also infinitely recyclable because it’s made from sand and it doesn’t lose value with each recycling session. 

The only problem faced with glass is that it can be quite heavy sometimes and might be fragile, making it unfit for situations. However, glass is still considered one of the ultimate alternatives to plastic bottles.


  • Preserves the taste and integrity of your drinks
  • Visually appealing
  • Infinitely recyclable


  • Fragile and Heavier
  • More Expensive 

2. Reusable Plastic Bottles

While single-use plastic bottles have no place in society, reusable ones have some benefits. 

First, you are using the same one instead of having to get a new one all the time. They can be made with BPA-free plastic and are always handy. You can have it on the go to work, while jogging, or even at home. 

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These types of plastics are also designed to reduce microbial activity, which keeps your drinks germ-free. Overall, they are good options for those who are not entirely ready to go zero-plastic.


  • Hygienic
  • Lightweight and Reusable
  • Easily Obtainable


  • Made from plastic
  • Waste disposal issue

3. Aluminum Water Bottles

Aluminum is quite durable and yet lightweight, making it an excellent carry-on water bottle option. They are quite easy to clean since it’s designed to reduce microbial activity. 

They are more expensive than plastic bottles, but since they are reusable, the cost is worth it. Aluminum, just like glass, is an integral resource, making recycling it very easy and efficient; it can be recycled multiple times.


  • Lightweight and durable
  • Stylish
  • Reusable and Infinitely Recyclable


  • More Expensive
  • Heavier

4. Stainless Steel Water Bottles

Although a bit heavier than most plastic bottles out there, steel bottles have been one of the traditional materials for producing water bottles. 

Steel can be infinitely recyclable and doesn’t contain any toxic chemicals, making your water safe. Since steel reflects UV rays, it can keep your water cold even in warm weather. 

They are quite durable and can last for years without needing change. Steel bottles also tend to look quite stylish and have become popularized by influencers.


  • More hygienic
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Non-toxic
  • It can be easily cleaned


  • More expensive
  • Heavier

5. Silicone Water Bottles

Silicone is one of the best alternatives to plastic bottles in the world, and for a plethora of reasons. The silicone is food-grade silicone, which is non-toxic, tasteless, and doesn’t leach chemicals into food. 

Silicone bottles can easily be reused, are hypoallergenic, and are very light to carry. It can be easily recyclable. They come in different styles and are very easy to clean.


  • Recyclable and reusable
  • Lightweight and easy to clean
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Non-toxic


  • It is a bit expensive

6. Ceramic Bottles

Ceramic is virtually non-reactive, making it one of the best alternatives to plastic bottles. This means that nothing can make it toxic, and no chemical will ever leach into your water. 

The bottles maintain the taste of your water and can keep it cool even in the hottest of weather. 

In addition, they can be recycled as long as you want and are reusable. They are quite fragile, though, and a bit more expensive.


  • Non-toxic
  • Recyclable and reusable
  • Keeps drinks cold
  • Really Stylish


  • Expensive and very heavy
  • Very fragile

7. Cardboard Cartons/Bottle

Although it sounds counterintuitive, cardboard bottles are becoming more and more popular by the day.

These cartons have a thin coating inside them that may or may not be made of plastic and keep drinks safe and airtight. It’s economical, and all you need to drink is simply a straw. 

The cartons themselves are 100% recyclable and have little to no environmental impact. They might come with a plastic cap, though, that has to be recycled separately. Compared to most options on this list, this is one of the lightest ones.


  • Lightweight
  • Reusable and Recyclable
  • Low Environmental Impact


  • It might not be so durable
  • Plastic cap and plastic inner lining
  • Not so readily available

8. Biodegradable Water Bottles

These water bottles, although disposable, are made from materials like cornstarch, hemp, sugarcane, etc., and are a better option than the multitude of plastic bottles out there. 

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Once used and disposed of, the bottles will biodegrade, releasing less greenhouse gas than it would take to produce regular plastic bottles. 

These bottles are non-toxic, lightweight, and can be recycled or used to do backyard composting based on the wishes of the customer. 


  • Lightweight
  • Recyclable and compostable
  • Non-Toxic


  • One-time use
  • Not readily available
  • Not so durable

9. Paper Cups

You must be already used to these by now, especially if you are a fan of hot drinks. Paper cups are disposable, biodegradable, and readily recyclable. 

They can be used in multiple settings like schools, offices, and homes, and they are very lightweight, making it easy to store and transport them. 

Although they might not be as durable as plastic bottles, they are among the best alternatives to plastic bottles in the world.


  • Lightweight
  • Cheap
  • Biodegradable and Recyclable
  • Versatile Use
  • Cheap


  • Non-Durable

10. Boxed Water

Known for its peculiar design, Boxed Water has become a hot topic for debate in the eco-conscious world. These tetrahedron-shaped boxes are made of paper and a blend of various other fibers, and the inside is lined with plant resin to prevent leaks. 

It is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which affirms it as a very eco-friendly product. 

However, the acceptance of Boxed Water hasn’t been so nice since it has a high environmental impact in its production and also has a plastic cap that has to be recycled differently.


  • Stylish Design
  • Lightweight
  • Certified Safe
  • Non-Toxic


  • High Environmental Impact
  • Plastic Components

11. Smart Water Bottles With Filters

These water bottles tend to incorporate a whole lot of tech and design into their nature. They come with an inbuilt water filter and are infinitely reusable. 

They might be costly upfront, but if you consider how lifesaving it is to filter your drinking water, you will appreciate it. They are made from recyclable products, and over the years, all you would have to replace is the filtering unit.


  • High-tech filtering technology
  • Lightweight
  • Stylish designs
  • Recyclable


  • Expensive upfront

12. Ooho

This is also one of the best alternatives to plastic bottles. Basically, it looks like blobs of water; however, the science behind them is quite groundbreaking. 

The “blobs” are made from a blend of brown algae and calcium chloride, which eventually results in a transparent gel. And guess what? After drinking, you can also eat the protective gel; that’s some next-level stuff. 

The gel can be opened by applying a little pressure and is biodegradable and disposable. This product is very new, but if it becomes mainstream, it will rival most plastic bottles.


  • Stylish
  • Biodegradable and disposable
  • Non-toxic


  • Relatively New
  • Not Available in most stores

13. Vacuum Sealed Containers

These containers are an improvement to most reusable bottles out there and were designed to aid and encourage the use of reusable bottles. 

The containers have an inbuilt metallic shield that keeps water and food at the temperature at which it was brought in. 

The containers might be a bit pricey compared to other contenders on this list, but in all fairness, the features are worth the price. 

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  • Maintains internal temperature
  • Durable and convenient
  • Reusable


  • A bit more expensive
  • Heavier than most plastic bottles

14. Wooden Bottles

These are not as popular as the rest, but wood has been used as a drinking material and storage for years. The inner part of these cups is lined with resin to prevent water leakage and wood rot. 

The bottles and cups are very stylish and have an earthy look to them that’s cozy. However, trees need to be cut down to produce the cups.


  • Biodegradable and reusable
  • Stylish looking
  • Non-toxic


  • Hard to produce and not sustainable

15. Water Pouches

This is a sustainable way of storing water in sachet forms with a minimal amount of packaging. This design is standard in Nigeria and called “Sachet water.” 

The nylon used is easily reusable and used to make new nylon; the sachets make it easy to transport and are built to accommodate the thirst of one person. 

Water pouches might not be so sustainable, though, except they’re made with bioplastics because the normal ones are made with non-biodegradable nylon.


  • Recyclable
  • Portable
  • Easily Available


  • Non-Biodegradable
  • Can Be Affected by Heat

16. PHA Plastics

This type of plastic is made to be biodegradable in marine water, which is where most plastic waste ends up anyway. 

Bottles made from this type of plastic can then be either recycled or allowed to degrade naturally, and its biodegradability is comparable to organic material of similar size.


  • Biodegradable
  • Recyclable


  • Not easily available

17. Aluminum Cans

When you imagine things in cans, water is the last thing to come to your mind, but it’s the newest rage in the world currently. 

Aluminum is easily recyclable and does not end up in landfills. They have a much lower environmental impact than single-use plastic bottles. 

In addition, they are incredibly stylish. They have become very popular on social media, with celebrities like Bill Gates rocking them. Ultimately, they are one of the best alternatives to plastic bottles.


  • Stylish
  • Recyclable


  • Not so popular


Thanks for reading to the end. What do you think about the article? 

Are there more alternatives to plastic bottles we didn’t mention? If so, we would love to see some of them in the comment section. If you have issues with any of the products we mentioned here, you can air your opinion comment section.

You can also check our website for more related contents. Thank you!

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