Updated editor’s note (9/7/09): We were extremely disappointed to find out that SIGG hadn’t been completely honest about the presence of BPA in its “water-based, non-toxic coating” mentioned later in this article. I thought hard about taking this one down; instead, I encourage you to take a look at Simran Sethi’s post on the revelation that SIGG bottles made before August 2008 do contain BPA.
The reduction in the use of plastic bottles in our lives is an aim I think most of us share. It’s all too easy to pick up a new plastic bottle of water rather than carrying your own, over 100m in the US alone are ending up in landfills every day. There are a few schools of thought, using aluminum bottles, steel bottles or corn based biodegradable plastic bottles (with or without a water filter). This review looks at one of those choices, a SIGG aluminum water bottle.
It’s an aluminum bottle. That’s pretty much it, it carries about 1 litre of liquid and does a fine job of it. At about 22.5cm (9 inches) in height, not including the cap (more about them in a minute) it’s a decent size to use on a walk, picnic, or gym, and just about fits in an average car cup holder. The bottles are fully recyclable at the end of their, probably long, life.
Who are SIGG? SIGG Switzerland dates back to 1908 when metal processing specialist Ferdinand Sigg established an aluminum product factory about 30 kilometers outside of Zurich. Still manufactured in Switzerland, they’ve been called the world’s toughest water bottles. Available in 144 designs with 22 bottle lids, some of the bottles are also displayed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. SIGG is also a member of 1% For The Planet – donating 1% of all sales to helping to preserve our environment.
What about leaching? Steel bottles do not usually leach, that is they don’t make the liquid inside taste of metal. Aluminum bottles do, so therefore need a lining, with SIGG’s being a water-based, non-toxic coating that is baked into the interior walls and remains flexible and crack resistant for the life of the bottle. The lining is taste neutral and resistant to fruit acids and energy drinks, and though it is FDA approved, it would be nice to know generally what it’s made out of.
How is the bottle? I’ve had the bottle for a couple of weeks and found no problems with it at all. I like the fact it’s tough and I can throw it if I need to without worry. While using a dishwasher is not recommended as due to the small opening it wouldn’t get clean effectively, it seemed fine to me. The paint might eventually wear off though. There are a variety of caps that can be used: the default screw cap isn’t especially friendly, unless you need to attach the bottle to something, the sports caps are much more convenient for day-to-day use. After refrigerating the bottle can be too cold to hold (being metal and all), though they do sell sleeves and rubber handle grips to help.
An extremely quick video is embedded below. Frankly after the written review I wasn’t sure what benefits and features I could show you, so I’ll be honest and say it’s not fascinating, but is short!
[kml_flashembed movie="http://flash.revver.com/player/1.0/player.swf?mediaId=640461" width="480" height="392" wmode="transparent" /]
Starting at $16.99 to $24.99, SIGG bottles are available from from Amazon and through SIGG themselves. For more eco product reviews, please take a look at our Eco Reviews page.
UPDATE: SIGG is also celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and they’ve built a website just for the occasion.
I’ve had my SIGG bottle for about a year now, and it is tough! I’m quite clumsy and it has a few dents and dings, but the paint job is still bright and my water still tastes just fine. I would recommend this product to anyone looking to reduce his/her plastic water bottle usage.
Amelia Royko Maurer
Sigg’s liner is made of a water based epoxy. One ingredient in epoxy is BPA. And if you read the Vom Saal interview, you know that in order to properly test for leaching, you have to test on something with an endocrine system over a period of time because the leaching could be undetectable by tools, but detectable by and damaging to the endocrine system.
Sigg will not disclose the ingredients of the liner, but they do test for BPA. Sigg and other supporters of Sigg do not subscribe to the claim that since Sigg tests for BPA, they must use it in the creation of the liner, an assumption we would allow for any yucky large corporate commercial product, but not Sigg, for some very very strange reason.
Sigg claims they are testing for leaching BPA only to separate themselves from other water bottles out there and the controversy surrounding BPA, but the it doesn’t necessarily mean the bottle liner contains it. This is clearly a bunch of excrement.
Why then isn’t Sigg testing for formaldehyde or cadmium? Why not parabens or say…e-coli? Where would this potential leaching be coming from if not the bottle? From? The sky?
I know this is hard to take. Especially after purchasing one since they are an investment. I am sad for the retailers out there who bought 100 of them. They have a hard time wrapping their head around this I think for that very reason. I have $900 (wholesale) worth of wood toys in my storeroom that I can’t sell because I found out after the fact that they were finished with an oil that contains VOCS. Now, to our knowledge, VOCS only effect the person applying them. But this is very recent news and we’ve been using these toxic chemicals for a long time. I could just sell the toys and they would probably not harm anyone. But I take what I do very seriously, and being true to my ethics and principles means, I take the hit.
But i am wondering, when discussing Sigg, why is it that no one (some retailers, many reporters and several bloggers) calls into question these three details:
the liner is water based epoxy = BPA
the liner is tested for leaching BPA = BPA
they won’t tell you that BPA is NOT an ingredient in the liner = BPA
Can anyone answer this question for me? Because it seems very obvious to me that one might do a little further investigating before recommending a product as the safe route and not just trust them because they are european, swiss, claiming to be safe, sexy… what is it?
Lastly, BPA is in every corner of our lives and only now are we being allowed to know how damaging it is and has been. PVC- same thing. Sigg uses FDA approval as if it means anything. I have one word for them: rBGH
For more info on conversations with the president of Sigg and certain green retailers on this list, check:
Amelia Royko Maurer
Free Market Organics LLC
342 S. Madison St.
e: [email protected]
Whoa! Did you just get slammed by one of the faithful?
No, I think she was just providing additional information (and good information at that).
May favorite water filter is Dupont’s WF-FM350 Faucet Mount Water Filter. I wrote a review of it water filter here if your interested in it..
Why do we worry about aluminum leeching from such a bottle when much of our drinking water contains aluminum tetraflouride to protect our teeth?
Amelia Royko Maurer
every degree of toxins we eliminate from our lives matters. that is why we worry about leaching aluminum, and toxins in lotion, shampoo, food, water bottles, etc.. every little bit matters especially if it is something we use everyday and can change- like lotions, food, water bottles.
regarding Sigg- their bottles are aluminum but they are lined with epoxy. Leaching aluminum is not the issue- BPA is.
Thanks Amelia, but how does one minimize – much less avoid – all of the evils lurking in the container? The aluminum can could leach into the drink, or the epoxy barrier between the can and the drink could be toxic, or the fluid itself could contain chemical additives that are detrimental to health. Seems like an impossible task to maintain purity.
I sometimes think that we spend too much time worrying and not enough time living. To quote Former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders, “We all will probably die with something sooner or later.” So, you had better enjoy what time you have. And remember, she wasn’t “downplaying that”.
Amelia Royko Maurer
I totally agree. We need to spend more time being present in the moment, and pick our battles when we can. I live by the 80/20 rule and it involves little stress because, all the green in the world won’t undo the damage stress and worry can cause. More later on 80/20.
On to important battles…
Bisphenol A and issues concerning petroleum based chemicals are very relevant right now. They are worth paying attention to. Many of them mimic our hormones and encourage hormonal cancer in our bodies. Breast and prostate cancer are on the rise among folks under the age of 45 and the age is dropping. Less then these cases are traced genetically. We don’t know where it is coming from but we do know how better to prevent it. We do know that rats who have been exposed to BPA while in vitro grow enlarged prostates. Prostate cancer is just something men get now- it’s considered normal.
Living preventatively doesn’t have to be a chore, or a buzz kill. Having your neighbor dump BPA among other hormone mimicking chemicals into your water supply will always kill a buzz, like when a doctor gives a 45 year old woman 6 weeks to live with no silver bullet and no explanation. Major buzz kill.
So how to balance this sort of oncoming ever-changing info without living life in a drag? There are so many simple ways and little changes that matter. There used to be a hand full of organic farms. Now there are thousands. I am so thankful that that handful of farmers didn’t just throw in the towel for fear that it wouldn’t matter if they continued since they were surrounded by commercial farms.
We are world traveling,snowboarding, capoeira playing, musician parents with a taste for ethnic foods and new experiences. Lots of buzz over hear. We make incremental changes every year and over time I have decided that I would stick to what I call the 80/20 rule and it works for us. 80% of the time we live green. 20% of the time, we let ourselves go, not in the sense that we go out on a conventional binge, but we just don’t think about it. We eat at other’s homes, out at restaurants, use air transport, take two cars to town and our kid plays and eats in homes that are not green. And that is ok by us. It has to be or we will get sick and render ourselves useless to our cause in the first place which is to live healthy and stress-free.
So what about our 80%?
1. we use only glass to store our food
2. we use stainless steel but more often, glass to-go water bottles
3. we use sustainable organic bamboo cooking utensils and cutting boards
4. we used all glass jelly jars for freezing breast milk and baby food
5. 90% of my daughters baby food is homemade and organic
6. we bring our own containers to restaurants for coffee and takeout
7. the filtered water that fills our tub then flushes our toilet.
8. we drive “Georgine”, a gorgeous 1983 Mercedes 240D and she eats as much vegetable oil as we can dump in her belly
9. we have converted half of our closets to organic and sustainable clothing
10. 99% of our daughter’s toys are previously owned, sustainable and toxin-free
11. we get all of our food from local organic farms (CSAs) 3 seasons out of the year
12. we support local economy as much as possible
13. we recycle everything from plastic to batteries
14. we live in a very very old home
15. the wood in our “new” wood floors was reclaimed
16. all of our home updates are energy efficient, no-voc and pre-owned
17. more then half of our light bulbs are compact fluorescent
18. we often carpool into town
19. we are exploring solar heating/lighting
20. we have a goal to be completely off of the grid in 7 years
21. we run a legitimate “green” business dedicated to sharing sustainable “green” goods and information
Hope this helps-
Organic for us because our bodies deserve better.
Organic for our loved-ones because they deserve the best.
Organic for the environment because it is our water, our air, our food; the environment IS our body.
Organic for the producers of our goods because they are us, they are our loved ones, they are our neighbors.”
For reference: SIGG also makes full stainless steel flasks that hold .7 liters, perfect size for toting around if you ask me. So yes, do avoid the ones with the lining, but if you still like the company and their designs go for the SS oval flask. They even have one that comes with its own SS cup too! A much cooler looking alternative to the Klean Kanteen.
A little fact check on Sigg and BPA
“On March 9th, it was brought to my attention that a website sponsored by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) made mention that SIGG bottles contain plastic liners with bisphenol A (BPA).
I can assure you that SIGG bottles are absolutely not made with a plastic liner and are in fact lined with a proprietary non-toxic, water-based resin which has been refined over decades of study and is completely safe & stable.
Based on the confidence we have in our product backed by numerous laboratory studies, we questioned the EWG and requested that they provide us with the testing they have conducted on SIGG – or alternatively to remove the “SIGG” mention from their website if they have not tested SIGG. Within 24 hours of this request, the EWG removed SIGG’s name from their report. Here is the link to the page reflecting this change: http://ewg.org/reports/bisphenola/consumertips.php
Unfortunately, in the meantime this message was picked up by a few other websites, one of those being The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) and their newsletter Organic Bytes. When we questioned the OCA on their mention of SIGG, this is the emailed response we received:
“We made a mistake. Sigg bottles do not contain BPAs… it was read wrong and there was confusion. Apologies about this.” – Member Services, OCA
As you may know, the BPA issues surrounding Lexan plastic bottles (polycarbonate #7) involve the migration of chemicals from the plastic into the contents of the bottles. On the other hand, SIGG bottles have been thoroughly tested in Europe to ensure 0% leaching of any substance – no trace of BPA, BPB or any phthalates.
“According to the results of our evaluation, use of a SIGG bottle does not add to the beverage any particles and/or components which are innocuous to human health.” – Dr. Ulrich Nehring, European Institute Nehring
We understand the controversy and concern surrounding BPA leaching from plastic water bottles and can assure you that SIGG bottles are leach-free and 100% safe. We are upset about the misinformation which has circulated and are working feverishly to clear the good name of SIGG.”
– Steve Wasik, President, SIGG, USA
True North Public Relations for SIGG
Above the quote from Dr. Nehring: I think he means “dangerous”, not innocuous….
Funny that that’s his direct quote, though.
Amelia Royko Maurer
Look, for the safety of consumers I honestly hope I am wrong but all the PR in the world will not dispute the fact that Sigg does not test for quantities small enough, period.
Steve Wasik came from Chanel. It is clear that he knows how to make a product sexy. He has no idea about product safety and his response makes that very clear.
I challenge Steve Wasik to let Dr. Fredrick vom Saal of University of Missouri choose a Sigg bottle and then test for leaching BPA the right way.
Frederick vom Saal
Division of Biological Sciences
College of Arts & Science
105 Lefevre Hall
University of Missouri-Columbia
Division of Biological Sciences
105 Lefevre Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
Ive had my sigg bottle which i bought in switzerland and its basically ondistructible. Ive had it for a year and take it to school and since i am very clumsy it has lots of dents but the water quality is still the same. I cant wait to buy this years collection since it is their 100th anniversary 😀
I have two kids and a mortgage to worry about, so if I can eliminate 95 – 97% of their BPA intake by going with a Sigg versus polycarbonate that’s good enough for my family.
If others want to obsess over “secret coatings” or corporate obfuscation god I wish I had that kind of time. Gotta go, kids are screaming…
SIGG is not what you think it is. SIGG has many dirty little secrets and it is time folks knew about them. Please read the article on http://www.realgreengirl.blogspot.com
It is powerful and an eye opener.
What is the SIGG liner made of, HMMM? Mystery material – could be dangerous.
I’m just entering this discussion and wrote SIGG to ask them…
Head of Sales in Switzerland just emailed me “SIGG bottles are treated with a BPA and Phtalates-Free inner coating.” So at this point, wouldn’t the easiest way to settle this be to convince a non-industry interest (such as an eco site or magazine) to conduct an independent study.
What’s with the comment I also received…”Independent tests have proved, that stainless steel bottles can leach magnesium and cadmium into the drinks. Not to speak about the Nickel to which many people react with allergies.” Is this really a concern? …looks like I have more googling to do…why don’t we return to glass-lined bottles but simply improve on that old design and make them sturdy?
Aluminum is also extremely easy to dent, and when the lining is old and the bottle is dented, what do you think happens to that (supposedly non-toxic) lining?
Find a friend with a beat up old Sigg bottle and point a flashlight in there, it will shed some light on another reason lined aluminum containers are a bad idea, especially on a re-usable product like a water bottle.
I’ve always been really impressed with how open the SIGG company is with their safety information. Of course they aren’t going to disclose their exact formula because there are so many knock-offs on the market, but I was able to find several tests from independent labs on ReusableBags.com. Their Help section has several lab tests that really made me feel comfortable ordering a SIGG bottle.
i buy all my bottles from http://www.discountmugs.com
uh oh! seems like sigg now admits there is bpa in the lining of their bottles:
i’d like to avoid aluminum and plastic bottle altogether, but when i work out, i cannot carry around a glass water bottle. i’ve switched from nalgene to sigg to laken. how much more money do i have to spend just to get a safe, sustainable way to hydrate myself??
Check treehugger.com, the bottle in your photos contains BPA. Not harmful amounts it sounds like, but SIGG was not honest about the lining (which they have since replaced).
Thanks for the extensive review and discussions of SIGG water bottles…they were lightweigh I noticed that but forgot the reason was ‘aluminum’ and we don’t use any aluminum in our cooking so why drink from it….thanks…Amelia..
will buy the stainless bottle instead..much as I loved the pink and black lace romantic valley design…don’t want to use aluminum in my intake containers….
Why even bother with aluminum? Use stainless steel. Problem solved. There are multiple sizes and shapes, cost about the same as well as being as tough as the Sigg bottles. On the Sigg bottles, the opening is irritatingly small. The ss ones have a much wider and easier to clean top. Also, “leaching” has NOTHING to do with taste!! Leaching is referring to harmful ingredients getting into what you’re drinking without your knowledge. MOST of the bad stuff you can’t taste, anyway. You CANNOT taste BPA if it leached into your drink.
Also, the author writes this, “The bottles are fully recyclable at the end of their, probably long, life.” Anyone know when the end of life is and the lining starts breaking down?
Water Bottle Willy
Wish i had that bottle when i was in the army but of course it would still be in the woods somewhere. Maybe they need a gps hooked to it….. have a good one, Will
Mike Loves Water!
Hello! I have moved to the Stainless Steel only- i trust that with no liner! Also, here is another thought- I found some great glass bottles online, you can actually see what you are drinking!!!! Thanks as always for keeping us aware!
HEllo- I like the Klean Kanteen bottles- no liners, no muss no fuss- just pure drinking of the best water I can find- plus, the Klean Kanteen has a cool sport top that makes a neat noise when i drink! Thanks for the great information-
How about a BPA free Nalgene?
Hello! I’m currently loving Sigg water bottles. Despite the controversy over their lining in years past, I trust these bottles to be BPA free! I also love all of the available designs and colors. It’s very eco-chic :). Thank for the article, it had some really great info!