Words by: Andie Perez Art by: Alyssa Maggio
Trendy water bottles are everywhere. From gym-goers lugging around their pastel Frank Greens, to outdoor enthusiasts with sticker-decorated Hydro Flasks. They promote an environmentalist lifestyle, too, as taking good care of your bottle can promote eco-friendly practices if you’re actively staying away from single-use plastics.
But, there’s a downside too. You might have looked up the prices for these glorified flasks and thought “what the fuck?” dismissing them as a trend that will soon be replaced. Or maybe you’ve never really outgrown your Smash-drink-bottle-circa-2007-phase.
Despite your inhibitions, there’s no doubt that these metal drink bottles have a fanbase. So, what makes these bottles so popular? Are they truly sustainable, or are users only concerned about the environment when it’s convenient?
I took a deep dive to find out.
Over the past year, Frank Green has sky-rocketed in popularity. Thanks to their co-branding with companies, and partnerships with influencers, Frank Green has hopped on the minimalist and ‘That Girl’ aesthetic and hasn’t left. As the bottles are so chic, they suit every occasion and you’re bound to exceed your daily recommended water intake in no time. See ya, dehydration! Next thing you know there’s some scuff marks on your bottle after buying your mini gold mine (yes, they’re not cheap). Don’t worry, just replace and recycle the bottle but keep the lid (so you’re somewhat sustainable). That’s if the plastic lid doesn’t break first from dropping it…
Is the company even really sustainable, when their only eco-friendly approach is replaceable parts and biodegradable materials? It sounds like users could be having a love–hate relationship with their beloved Frank Green.
Bo, ‘Frankly Disappointed’
“I was down in the dumps after buying my Frank Green bottle, to be honest. It just feels like it could get banged up pretty easily and it’s SUCH a pain to lug around. Honestly, I’d rather just grab a cheaper flask next time. Hydro Flask and Frank Green? Overrated and overpriced, if you ask me. They’re clunky and heavy as hell. I’m stuck with this ‘home’ bottle because I don’t wanna risk scratching it up even more, but it’s devastating because it cost me like a hundred bucks.“
In 2019, Hydro Flask gained popularity through the ‘VSCO Girl’ trend, making it a status symbol that you could easily customise. It was almost like having a Hydro Flask made you part of the exclusive Cool People Club. Although owning one didn’t automatically make you an environmentalist, it did raise awareness about plastic pollution; specifically the Save the Turtles movement. The venn diagram of ‘Hydro Flask’ and ‘denting’ is pretty much a circle — which sucks for users that were initially iffy with the price.
But, the colourful bottles do have useful features like double wall vacuum insulation and a lifetime warranty. The company also engages in community and charitable initiatives, such as Parks for All. Not too shabby, Hydro Flask.
Satya, ‘Happy in Hydro’
“My Hydro Flask is my go-to, but let’s be real, the price tag made me sob. But hey, it keeps my drinks frosty! The customer service is also next level—they sent me a new bottle when my old one lost its ability to keep cool after three years. As someone who’s prone to clumsiness, I used to misplace or damage my old bottles all the time, but I haven’t done that with my Hydro Flask (knock on wood!). I never thought I’d be making a difference in the world, but ever since I switched to my trusty bottle, I haven’t touched a plastic bottle since. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, folks.“
YETI—born in Texas—is a cult classic for nature enthusiasts. The bottle also appeals to the lifestyle envious; those who wish they were out in the wild instead of staying stuck in a building. So, when you see that student donning Patagonia and Carhartt while sipping their YETI, what they want to say is “yeah, I may be studying engineering… but I’m really an outdoor junkie at heart”. As long as you don’t leave your YETI accidentally in the Monash Caulfield library, it could last for years. These bad boys are pretty durable, even surviving extreme situations like truck explosions that I’ve seen on Tiktok.
Some of the drawbacks are that they’re heavy and expensive. Not to mention, there are not a lot of customisation options. However, YETI produces a straightforward ESG report on its website, and seems like a brand that does their best for the environment.
Tim, ‘The Abominable Sipper’
“I was lured into the Yeti Rambler by its insulation properties and sturdy look. I can trust the bottle not to fail me when hiking or camping, but other than those rare instances, I don’t really use it. I rotate between BPA-free bottles that I have been using for years, because they’re lighter and do exactly what I need them to — carry water. In my opinion, sustainable water bottles are just like any other bottle — they just come with a tacit promise that their owner cares about the environment.”