The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

January 12, 2011

Klean Kanteen introduces new Reflect plastic-free bamboo stainless steel water bottle

Klean Kanteen Reflect stainless steel water bottleUntil now, all Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottles came with plastic caps: either 100% plastic or stainless with a hard plastic top. But I’m happy to let you know about the new Reflect bottle, which is completely plastic-free.

Two years ago, shopping with my friend Ruchi for a new Klean Kanteen to replace the one that was stolen from her, we discovered that the bottles automatically came with a 100% plastic cap and that if you wanted the partially stainless steel cap, you had to buy it separately and end up with two caps. I ranted about the plastic cap policy and wrote a letter to Klean Kanteen requesting they give customers a choice from the start.

This past November, I met up with Scott and Jeff from Klean Kanteen at the TEDxGreatPacificGarbagePatch event in L.A. and learned that they have gone even further than merely offering the choice of more plastic or less plastic. Now, you can choose a bottle that is 100% plastic-free and paint-free as well. The logo is laser-etched into the bottle, replacing paint which can wear off over time.

Klean Kanteen Reflect stainless steel water bottle

The cap is stainless steel and bamboo with a food grade silicone ring for a tight seal.

Klean Kanteen Reflect stainless steel water bottle

But here’s the thing: Don’t buy this bottle if you already have a perfectly good stainless steel water bottle! I don’t want you to, and I don’t think Scott or Jeff want you to either. Get it for a friend who is still drinking out of plastic. Get it for yourself if you’re still drinking out of plastic. Opt for the Reflect bottle if your current bottle gets lost or stolen, like Ruchi’s did. But remember, steel is incredibly energy-intensive, and it doesn’t help the planet to eschew plastic water bottles and then stock up on multiple metal ones.

Remember: we can’t buy our way out of the ecological mess we’re in. Products like the Klean Kanteen Reflect bottle can help us reduce waste and avoid toxic chemicals, but only if we purchase them mindfully and in moderation. Perhaps at some point, Klean Kanteen will offer the Reflect stainless cap separately for people with perfectly good bottles who just want to replace their plastic caps. How about contacting Klean Kanteen to ask for that option?

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Justin Kase
5 years ago

I’m looking for the safest water bottle at the moment and it’s simply not as easy as picking a safe material. In this case stainless can actually be MUCH worse than plastic, depending on manufacturing details we can never know. Here are the main potential contaminants I’ve found from researching online. There are others I don’t even mention.

Glass: Lead and cadmium.
Stainless: Lead, cadmium, chromium, nickel or iron.
ALL PLASTICS: All sorts of residual chemicals from the manufacturing process.
PET: Antimony at feasible ambient temps.
Silicone: Siloxanes, increased likelihood at high temps or with certain liquids (alcohol).
HDPE: Not sure exactly but still researching.

The downfall of most of these materials is simply unreliable manufacturers and that’s what you get when you buy products made from components made in some chinese province. I personally choose to stick to USA items if it will be in contact with food, but it’s not guarantee. Especially because they really stretch what it means to be “Made in the USA” now. It really takes a lot of research to find out where the source components. Ruling out foreign manufacturers and suppliers really cuts the numbers of options. Stainless goes right out the window, probably all metal bottles. This leaves only glass, plastic or silicone. I prefer USA glass but realistically that isn’t going to work for biking.

4 years ago
Reply to  Justin Kase

Justin, you might want to check out the Meshbottle! We designed a special glass top that allows the beverage to be stored in a 99.9% glass environment. The only 2 materials we use are glass and silicone. People who purchased it really like it. The glass jars are made in the USA. – Sorry, didn’t mean to hijack the discussion…

K. Benko
6 years ago

This bottle looks great, and I’m not saying I won’t get one when I need it, but it’s not plastic-free. That silicone ring.

6 years ago

Finally. I’ve been waiting for something like this as I am forever dropping my water bottles out of trees and smashing the caps. Nice that I can put a belt clip on it too.

Anna Summers
7 years ago

Is this bottle made in the U.S.A or in Western Europe? (Western Europe actually protects it’s citizens better than we do). Or is it made in Asia?

9 years ago

You can now buy the caps separately!

10 years ago

ChicagoSparrow How about getting a Berkley Water Filter? They are stainless steel. It would let you transform your tap water into clean, safe, good for you water!

10 years ago

Greetings! The water where I live is really bad…3 neighbors on my street got brain cancer, one died. So I order 5 gal jugs of Ice Mountain water and fill my stainless steel togo cup. But, yes, I work hard at no plastic–any suggestions as to how I can get large amounts of water without 5 gal plastic jugs!! Thanks so much!!

Meredith Torres
12 years ago

I applaud the efforts of Klean Kanteen to make a plastic free drinking container and to offset the environmental impacts of shipping it to me. The bottle was released this week and I wanted to show my support so much that I paid almost $50 for it. You can imagine why I was shocked and really disappointed this morning when it was delivered and my invoice came attached to the outside of the box, wrapped in PLASTIC! Really? This defeats the whole point. I sent them a note too.

Betsy (Eco-novice)
12 years ago

Great idea (replace caps only). I’m going to email KK right now.

12 years ago

I lost 3 KK this year. One at a festival, One at a friends Yoga retreat. Then last weekend at the beach I lost the special edition one I WON through the Plastiki photo competition. Gutted. Would means I also lost 3 plastic caps. I think they are great & all & think it’s fab they are going 100% plastic free, but for me I really need an option that’s a little more “scatty” friendly & less precious. (they are even more expensive in Europe) need to get my thinking cap on before it gets hot & I really need one.

12 years ago

Honestly- I never think about the caps and such, On my water bottles. I suppose since I don’t think of them as being disposable has something to do with it. Thanks for opening my eyes beth

Jay Sinha
12 years ago

Hi Beth,
Happy New Year. Wonderful new blog name!
It is a beautiful bottle, and we are looking forward to carrying it when it becomes available. We’ve had an order in since Klean Kanteen began promoting them last summer, but it now looks like they won’t be available for a while yet, likely March I last heard from Klean Kanteen. Chantal and I completely shared your dismay about only plastic caps being available with the Klean Kanteens when initially purchased, and the stainless cap having to be purchased separately. Having carried the Klean Kanteen for over four years now, we played a significant role in bringing them into Canada, and when we first began distributing them we were able to order them in bulk with the stainless caps. At the time, they were the only bottles, or at least the highest quality ones, for which a stainless steel cap was even available. Then Klean Kanteen switched to the plastic cap only policy for distribution as well, which left us flabbergasted and dismayed and we did voice our concern to Jeff at the time. So we’re pleased to see that a stainless cap on a stainless only bottle (no paint) will now be available. But we totally agree with your solid advice to buy one of these only if you really need it. We’ve got to get over that overconsumption habit. Consumption for the sake of being trendy, even if it is greenish consumption, is no solution to the plastic or wider environmental problems. As always, a joy to read about your experiences and views. Thanks.

12 years ago

Love the whole article, I think it is great they came out with a 100% plastic free bottle, but we all need to be reminded to not buy it unless we need it.
Thanks Beth.

12 years ago

Klean Kanteens are made in China, but they are ethically made in china with oversight from third party inspectors. The company I work for sells the bottles and works with these inspectors to ensure that they are made of high quality materials in factories that treat workers well. I would much rather have a Klean Kanteen than some of the other alternatives made in the U.S. (liberty bottles have the paint lining that chips off, horrible)

12 years ago

What’s the point of the bamboo aspect of the Reflect Kanteen? It certainly doesn’t look like it serves any purpose. Is it really just a piece of bamboo glued to a stainless top for aesthetic purposes? If so, that’s pretty weak … and wasteful. Hopefully I’m missing something super-obvious about its functionality.

Reenie R
12 years ago

I wonder about how/where all the stainless containers on the market are made. Still I appreciate the move to a plastic free top. I’m still using my ceramic mug, but I drive and that makes it easy. I use glass bottles that various teas come in for water and juices. The problem with glass is that it does break, and that has happened more than once, creating a mess and lots of flying broken glass. I want to use stainless, and was given one at a green festival in town, but the water I put in it had a metal aftertaste and wasn’t reassuring. Off topic a bit, but like Christina I’ve wondered about how our bamboo items are harvested and made, glues etc. Consumers need much more information to live a healthy, green life. Many folks think it is just nonsense to dig deeper into the life of products. I don’t however, and feel it is a necessary action for consuming resonsibility. Thank you for this news on stainless containers! I’ll share it.

Ms. Adventuress
12 years ago

YES! I’ve been lugging my old KK SS bottle around, wondering about this. No new purchases for me, but should I need another one someday, now I know I’ll go back to KK!

12 years ago

I fully support a plastic-free life and do everything I can do to minimize plastic. I chose to educate myself and others on this issue. That being said, there is so much fear on this blog’s comments. What about living life both environmentally and joyfully?

Steve Leffler
12 years ago

Beth – Bearing in mind your rant above regarding not consuming products we don’t need, I think most of us can take a pass on the Klean Kanteen product despite it’s admirable qualities. They look nice and all, but for the last few months I’ve been reusing a Tazo tea bottle that I pulled out of the neighbors trash. For my morning coffee I was wrapping the bottle with a bunch of the rubber bands (that the post office wraps my mail in) so my fingers wouldn’t get zorched, and to provide additional insulation for my coffee. Then my mother-in-law suggested I wrap a sliced cardboard toilet paper tube around the bottle and hold it on with a rubber band or two so now I have a starbux style heat-finger-deflection-shield. Now it’s really well insulated and fits in my car’s cup holder nicely (it looks as though the Klean Kanteen would be top heavy in a cup holder). It’s not entirely plastic free as there is a slim plastic liner under the cap, but the reuse of these simple materials is going to be far better for the planet than the environmental production costs associated with the Chinese built stainless steel option especially after it gets shipped here.

And it cost substantially less than the $32.95 price listed on the Klean Kanteen website. In fact, if you send me only $29.95 I’ll send you one of these amazing handmade, earth friendly beverage holders and you’ll save $3!! As the post office only supplies me with one rubber band per day, supplies are limited. So email me now. Limit 1 per customer. Shipping and Handling additional. Offer not valid in Manistee Michigan due to various restraining orders. ;-)

Or I suppose you could make your own.

Note to Carmen above – Skip the lunch box. Use a brown paper bag and reuse it daily until it’s shot, then compost it. You can get free brown paper bags at Whole Foods in their vegi section. Or better yet you can pilfer a co-workers McDonald’s bag out of the trash at work. There’s no need to create demand for more “stuff”.

12 years ago

Are they still made in China? I would love to get one, but…. last time I checked, Klean Kanteen outsourced to China & I’m not risking any “accidental contamination”.. their could be lead in there..amongst other things.. and for all we know, the factory that they are made in could be a massive polluter–yo, China. We care about where the product will go when we’re done with it… I also care about where it came from before it got to me. It would be nice to employ Americans, and not have to ship everything across the pacific. Waste much anyone? Nice design though.. anyone find something like this made in a country that isn’t the worlds greatest environmental destroyer? Let me know!

12 years ago

love the laser etching. more companies should do that!

12 years ago

You think we could order just the cap? My cap is broken and leaks everywhere.

Mike Lieberman
12 years ago

That’s very progressive of them to take this step. They were good before, but even better now.

12 years ago

That is very encouraging news. Now, I wish they would make a nice lunch box the same way that can fit a banana as well as several containers….

12 years ago

That laser etching is super sweet! I already have a ‘plastic cap’ Kleen Kanteen so I’m not ready for a new one yet.

I wonder if you could take it to one of those Things Remembered engraving stores at the mall and have them put anything you want on it??


Eco-Vegan Gal
12 years ago

This is great news Beth – thanks for sharing! It’s because of people like you that these things happen. I love your message about not buying it unless you need it – such an important thing to remind ourselves and others.

12 years ago

Julia, if you have too many of those bottles, maybe you could share them? Our church has a program of giving care packages to the numerous homeless people here around Santa Cruz, but while their heart is in the right place, I am appalled at the amount of disposable plastic they are giving out (there is a plastic bottle of water in each plastic bag, with other things like a new toothbrush, socks, etc.) I am going to talk with the people at church and see if we can round up reusable water bottles and put the goodies straight into those to save some plastic. Maybe there is a charity around your area that would be glad to put your water bottles to good use?

(This is also a great idea for people who work at campuses and schools, where plenty of good reusable water bottles get left behind at the end of every school year–someone needs to start collecting them and handing them out where they can be useful!)

I am thrilled with this new product from Kleen Kanteen. Thanks for telling us about it!

Christy B
12 years ago

It is beautiful.

I have two questions:

1. Where is the stainless steel sourced from?
2. Where are they made?

12 years ago

Is it weird that my first thought was “I kind of hope my bottle gets stolen so that I can legit replace it with this”? Yes, yes it is. Thanks for letting us know about this. Someday, after my bottle’s theft, loss, or old age, I shall look for this as a replacement.

12 years ago

I will definitely keep this in mind if I lose my current bottle. And soon I will need a bottle for my toddler, when he gets a little older. I’m glad there will be a plastic-free option available.

12 years ago

Beth, I thought of you when I saw these on the Kleen Kanteen site. They are indeed gorgeous! I know looks aren’t everything, but it’s great when a good-for-the-planet product can also be a really attractive product. If I hadn’t just replaced my lost Kleen Kanteen (left it on an airplane – arghhh!) with another just like it, I’d think about getting one of these.

I like my one-piece hollow plastic loop-top cap, though. No water can get inside it, it’s easy to clean and it doesn’t come in contact with my water all that much when the bottle is just sitting there. I am trying to reduce my use of plastic, but I feel much less guilt about using durable plastic goods for the long-term than I do about all the dumb little throwaway plastic bits that sneak into my life.

12 years ago

I LOVE your disclaimer – “Remember: we can’t buy our way out of the ecological mess we’re in.” – even when it comes to “eco” objects… too often I see soooo many eco things i would love to get and have to ask myself if i really need it, or if i can get one second-hand or DIY something… thanks for vocalizing this point thats been in the back of my mind :D

Btw, I also love your website, I use it all the time to assist me in my attempts to reduce my plastic consumption. Keep up the good work!

12 years ago

Always awesome to hear of a product that allows for no compromise in our plastic free efforts. I do however have 3 or 4 stainless steal bottles already, because they pretty much throw them at you for free on University campuses. At least mine does. And I always find lost ones on the street, that I just give a good scrub and a new life to, as well.

12 years ago

I would love to replace all of the plastic caps (when they wear out or if I lose them) with these shiny stainless steel ones. Water seeps inside the plastic caps (the ones that are closed) that I can’t drain and I was afraid that it might create mold and mildew inside. So it would be nice if I can replace them with SS caps! i will ask them to sell them separately, now that they make them. Thanks Beth!!

12 years ago

Ditto and…

I just sent the alert to Canada’s newest distributor of alternatives to plastic
Ramin Motobar at

I DO want to carry the new bottles and extra caps.

Thanks for changing the world, Beth!

12 years ago

I have a few bamboo items in my home that seem to ‘replace’ plastic – some of them appear to be just bamboo covers that fit over a plastic item such as a soap dispenser pump head. But even for the ‘solid’ bamboo items such as cutting boards, I am wondering… how are these bamboo products made? What is used to laminate the bamboo together, and what kinds of sealants are used to finish it? It seems to be a little bit like plywood, lots of smaller pieces sandwiched together. How does it weigh in in terms of carbon footprint, sustainability, against highly durable plastics like the bombproof stuff that Kleen Kanteen makes the plastic tops out of?

Not that I expect you to tell me, but these are things I have been wondering about.

Beth, my hat is off to your wonderful efforts to get the word out. I really appreciate the amount of energy you are expending to this cause. Please please keep up this wonderful and important work you are doing. I’m really impressed! Thank you!

12 years ago

That’s great! A couple of years ago when I bought my husband and son their Klean Kanteens I was able to choose which top I wanted. How great to have the all-stainless option though!!

The Queen
12 years ago

OH MY FRIG’in lord, I think I just pee’d myself.
Seriously, this is so awesome! I totally know what I am going to buy for all of my friends and slacker family members who are hording their OLD plastic water bottles – for birthdays and Christmas.