Monday, July 21, 2008

SIGG vs Klean Kanteen - No Contest (Madonna and Crawford got hoodwinked)

Crazy hazy today.

And the winner is...Klean Kanteen. Hands down, no question. And here's why:

Let's first compare the two. SIGG is a single walled (though they just started making doubled walled in China) aluminum water bottle, made in Switzerland out of virgin aluminum (with aluminum being the best truly recyclable material, this is not very eco after all) that is lined with a softish amber (it has to be lined) "epoxy based resin". SIGG is adamant that it is not a plastic but based on the definition of an epoxy, I don't know how that can be. Their slick CEO Steve Wasik does a nifty tap dance and never fully answers questions about the lining and passes it off to the makers wanting to hold the info. His words seem carefully chosen and vague.

Klean Kanteen is a solid, food grade, 18/8 stainless steel bottle that is not lined, made responsibly in China. Virgin stainless steel is almost unheard of which makes stainless steel appealing for it's high recycled content and its recyclable ability. Stainless steel is next in line to glass in terms of safety with a few concerns about nickel or chromium leaching. Luckily, our bodies actually need a minimum level of each for functioning and are capable of processing it. After all we cook and brew with food grade stainless steel.

So the real issue comes down to this. What the heck is the lining in the SIGG bottles made of? I mean give us the whole story, full disclosure, the ingredients - let's have it.

No one knows. It's a secret. Maybe a dirty little secret.

SIGG claims it can't divulge the lining ingredients for fear of copy cats. They claim their proprietary right to secrecy like Coca-Cola. Last I saw, the ingredients were on a coke can. There is a lot of discussion on green forums about the subject, much back and forth between the faithfuls. However, in the Land of Green, this lack of transparency just doesn't cut it. SIGG boasts meeting FDA requirements which as most of us know is pretty meaningless. So what are they hiding? Me thinks BPA.

BPA, bisphenol A, a chemical used for decades in resins, plastics and epoxy, has gotten a huge amount of press lately because of its ability to leach and cause health problems. Epoxy was co-invented by a Swiss, Dr. Pierre Caston, back in 1936 when he got an amber colored solid by mixing epichlorhydrin with...BPA. What a coincidence. As a severe hormone disruptor, BPA has been shown to cause many problems in animal studies even at very low levels, so much so that Canada has proposed banning BPA in baby bottles. Canada takes the better safe than sorry road. Yeh Canader, eh? BPA has recently been tested and found in canned foods in the range of 1.6 to 10 or more parts per billion, or PPB. Testing also can also take place at the smaller parts per trillion level, or PPT. In animal studies, very low levels of BPA in PPT have caused cell damage and cancer due to hormone disruption.

SIGG offers an independent study of their bottles to show their safety levels, though not exactly independent since SIGG paid for it. SIGG claims their bottles have been regularly tested extensively in Europe but have yet to cough up any studies despite being hounded. At close examination of this one independent study, the testers used a LOQ (limit of quantitation) of 2 PPB, which means they don't test for accuracy below that level. And in the scientific world, below the LOQ can be called zero, nothing, nada or "undetectable", because the calibration used doesn't go below the LOQ. How conveeeeenient. What's disturbing is that this gave SIGG permission to then claim that the test showed NO BPA leaching from their bottles. Now that's just plain twisting the truth as I see it. If tests can use the parts per trillion range, yet the chemistry lab uses a LOQ of 2 parts per billion and then declares the product BPA free, well ... you can draw your own conclusion. The lab was very careful in its wording saying that "no BPA was detectable above the LOQ". So if you're hanging your hat on this one, paid by SIGG study and declare SIGG totally safe, I have a covered bridge to sell you.

SIGG's marketing is nothing short of genius with long established tentacles and celeb endorsements but this dark shadow isn't going to go away. SIGG makes a big deal about great quality because of being Swiss Made (that's like saying if you've done this and that, you qualify for president) but SIGG was quick to go to China when they introduced their stainless steel bottles. Its time to look behind the curtain and find out the truth behind the lining. Until such time, I will stick to Klean Kanteen. I believe SIGG is hiding something, and you should too.

So don't just sit there. Write SIGG and ask for full disclosure. Write the EWG and ask them to do independent testing on SIGG bottles using PPT (parts per trillion). Don't settle for evasive answers or no answers at all. Don't be duped by fancy colors and cool designs, like Madonna and Crawford were.

Be healthy and safe drinking.

43 comments:

Kathe said...

dear green girl,

thanks for pointing me to your blogg entry. i was skeptical about the sigg lining business when i was comparing them to klean kanteen. i was very disappointed when i saw the made in china on the sigg bottle i did buy.

katherine

Ryan Sinn said...

So if BPA is banned in Canada... which it isn't... and SIGG won't release information regarding the contents of their internal coating / epoxy... Are SIGG bottles for sale in Canada?

Canada has only banned BPA from Baby Bottles...

Sure looks like Canadian Companies are still selling SIGG to Canadians:
http://www.northern-spirit.ca/home.php

So if there was a concern with SIGG and BPA -- wouldn't the Canadian Gov't outlaw SIGG bottles or BPA in all bottles?

Write a letter asking the Canadian Gov't if they've tested SIGG bottles for BPA... I would assume that they can tell you.

If it's a really big deal -- how about an independent study which actually tests leeching without a limit... That would give us an answer.

I don't agree with SIGG saying trust us... but over the top sensational blog postings like this are ridiculous.

Safe Water Bottle Review said...

This is a great post. I have been researching a lot about the safety of Sigg water bottles lately and your post has been the most comprehensive. I totally agree with you that Sigg is very deceptive and they are hiding something. It's better to stick with a company like Klean Kanteen that you know is safe.

Rav said...

If you are going green I can't at all see how you can pick Klean Kanteen. It is made in China. Can you really feel good about that? Klean Kanteen admits on their site to only visiting 4 or 5 times a year. So this brings to mind labor issues, humanitarian issues, lead, tibet, child labor. With Sigg you can at least not get few items they make that are made in China.
Lastly I find your fear of the lining in Sigg bottles paranoid. I'm not saying that BPA levels, lead, etc. are things to ignore. But even if the many labs that have tested Sigg are hiding something, it'd have to be 2 parts per BILLION or less. That is far and beyond below safe. Just about anything safer would be glass.
As for your fear of virgin aluminum being used, what makes digging up the earth for steel any better? Both steel and aluminum will last several life times and at any point you can recycle it. A better argument would to be finding some company that makes drinking bottles from 100% recycled metals.
Coke does NOT list everything in the ingredients. The "natural and artifical" flavorings is not vague, it simply isn't saying.
I point this all out because if you are going to be a real green girl you have to think critically and report responsibly. I'll admit I'm not a giant Greeny, but if you are going to report, try to be factual and not take sides. A better article might consist of only factual pros and cons of both products and then allow readers to make an informed and educated choice.

Anonymous said...

dear green girl,
i love my klean kanteen but I am curious to know if there is any way of checking whether their factories in China are as responsible as they claim on their website...
I have found nothing so far.

snowbutterfly said...

Hi realgreengirl,

Do you know anything about the Laken brand - they are claiming to be BPA free. But once I discovered your post, I found myself wondering about the Laken bottle-producing process as well..

Thanks for great reviews and research on the metal water bottle front!

John said...

I was given a SIGG bottle as a gift - and it seems handy. Should I toss this thing? Is it truly going to make me sick?

cyclotourist said...

Another though on the SIGG bottles: I have used mine daily for four-five years now. The anodizing around the lip has worn off over that time. I pull a flake off the stopper now and then, but the majority is going inside me... yuck. Need to invest in some KK bottles...

Wirehead said...

My problem with the Klean Kanteen bottles is that if I put the bottle in the fridge overnight filled with water, the next morning the water tastes metallic. This does not happen with my Laken bottle.

Which may be that I'm oversensitive to nickel or chromium or iron ions in the water...

The more I look at it, the less I trust any of them. Assuming that Sigg (and other "lined Aluminum") makers are using the standard beverage epoxy lining, BPA is an ingredient. That's documented.

Meanwhile, Klean Kanteen is made out of 304 (a.k.a. 18/8) food-grade material. Same stuff pots and pans are made out of. However, it is not the stuff that brewer's vats are made out of. That's type 316, which is more resistant to corrosion... despite what they say on their website. Likewise, if you talk to winemakers, they tend to not keep their wine in stainless steel containers for too long, because it does change the taste.

Nor can you simply brush the potential for nickel and chromium problems under the rug. Both can trigger allergic reactions and both are harmful given a large enough dose.

Now, there are linings available that do not contain BPA. Laken claims to use a BPA-free lining.

You want to know what I bet is going on? I've got two Sigg bottles, one newer and one older, and the lining is different colors between them. I'm betting that they've gone through some number of different liners over the years so they'd like to avoid the issue altogether because at some point they may have used an EPA-containing epoxy.

twodeadpoets said...

I too have been concerned about plastics and for t time tried out the resin coated aluminum bottles which are made by several other companies as well as SIGG. We settled on Klean Kanteen and love it so much that we have three of them in the family now.

That said their have been so much hype over the issue of plastic I've been back and fourth on the subject. This morning I hear a great piece on NPR called "Public Concern, Not Science, Prompts Plastics Ban" by Jon Hamilton, The story is in both the text and recording here: (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=102567295). Now am not as sure as I was before thought the recycling angle is a pretty good argument in on it own.
Cheers!
tdp

Anonymous said...

Where's your evidence that there are tests that can detect BPA at the ppt level? Two ppb is extremely low, for any compound. BPA is found in most common plastics and plastic additives, and I think you can expect a small amount of it even on your hands if you're interacting with consumer products from day to day. Chances are, there's more BPA in a SIGG bottle once you drink from it than there it is when it's new.

I went Klean Kanteen, by the way. I'm just saying that claiming that their study is misleading is a little wayward. There is no way they can show that there is ZERO BPA in their bottles. There is a way they can show that there's consistently a low enough amount for it to be considered non-toxic, however. That's how the scientific method works. Nothing can be proven, only statistically shown evidence for, or disproven. So don't look for an ideal result. Everything ever discovered by the scientific method is based on results being statistically significant at a certain level. If you accept it for everything else (which you do by living in today's world, using today's technology, and trusting today's advances), then accept it for this.

Real Green Girl Activist said...

There is plenty of evidence for PPT as most of the animal testing is done at PPT. Our own hormones are at PPT and less. All you have to do is google- BPA parts per trillion -and you will find plenty of evidence. Please review this very comprehensive article:

http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/132/the-real-story-on-bpa.html?page=0%2C0

Klean Kanteen is made from stainless steel and not lined so it doesn't even have BPA as part of its chemistry. BPA is an additive to expoxy/plastic, not metals, unless as a liner. Again the article above is the most comprehensive article to date, please read.

Anonymous said...

FROM: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1280330

"In the now outdated perspective of the HCRA report (Gray et al. 2004), it was stated that “In the case of BPA the only proposed mechanism for low-dose effects is through modulation of the [nuclear] estrogen receptor.” Instead, the recent findings concerning the multiple mechanisms of action of BPA show that at concentrations < 1 ppt, BPA activates receptors associated with the plasma membrane of selected target cells. As the BPA “dose at target” increases, various responses in the same or different cells are activated or inhibited (MacLusky et al. 2005), with the specific dose required being dependent on the subtype of nuclear ER and specific coactivators or coinhibitors that are present. At even higher concentrations (parts per billion to parts per million), inhibition of androgen-stimulated and thyroid-hormone–stimulated responses can also occur. That the integrated output across a 1-million-fold dose range can be nonmonotonic (inverted-U shape) is thus not unexpected by scientists who study hormones and hormonally active drugs or chemicals (Welshons et al. 2003). Regulatory agencies that conduct risk assessments have not addressed the implications of nonmonotonic dose–response curves for endocrine-disrupting chemicals with regard to the linear-threshold model currently used to predict “safe” doses for humans."

Anonymous said...

I've been wondering. All you people out there who's scared to death of bottles leaching BPA must've caused Sigg to lose a huge section of the market.

Here's the question: why does't Sigg change it's aluminum made bottles into stainless steel bottles?. they could still make it the same shape and paint design as the bottles they're selling now.

Is the company really that stupid to risk Kleen Kanteen taking away its customers just to keep a company tradition (aluminum bottles) running?

Real Green Girl Activist said...

SIGG has not lost any market share, the use of reusable bottles is increasing so fast that they are maintaining and even expanding - they do have wonderful appealing graphics. 2nd, they are expanding to stainless steel by offering their double walled version in stainless. Plus switching would admit that there is a problem and so far they have stuck by their "Does Not Leach" but the detail they leave out is "only above 2 PPB". Can't answer your last question.

cyclotourist said...

In addition to Real Green's points, it would be a huge investment in tooling to switch over to all SS production. As long as the Al bottles are selling, there is no incentive to do that.

Xavier Hernandez said...

Green Girl:

Congratulations on your show of ignorance and bias.

You claim that Kleen Kanteen - made with stainless steel - is safe. Yet in the book Practical Handbook of Environmental Site Characterization and Ground-Water Monitoring [http://books.google.ca/books?id=6RYnetj5T-gC&pg=PA694&lpg=PA694], indicates in various studies that grade 304 stainless steel (the same grade of stainless steel used in Klean Kanteen) can leach "significant more iron and cadmium" compared to the control group.

I'll stay with Sigg, thank you very much.

Real Green Girl Activist said...

The study you are referring to is talking about well casings made from stainless 304 and 316. Though the same 304 as KK, the process and finishing of a water bottle creates a more non-porous surface as compared to a well casing, as explained:
"Made from electropolished, non-leaching, high grade 304 L.N. (18/8) stainless steel. Klean Kanteen’s 304 L.N. stainless steel is grade blended specifically for food preparation, dairy, brewing, various medical uses and other applications where mineral migration is unacceptable. The steel is put through a electropolishing process which seals the surface and prevents minerals from migrating into the contents" Well casings are not processed in this manner.

Also, well water is notorious for leaching because it is so corrosive, as explained in the page before your reference, mostly from low PH or dissolved oxygen. If you google: "corrosive well water" there is plenty of information about it.

Also noted was the presence of chloride causing the leaching, in addition to the different qualities of the well systems. 304 is still the most widely used stainless steel, used for food,brewing, dairy and surgery.

Given the recent research on the alarming leaching of BPA from tin cans and soda bottles and the fact that the scrambling food industry has yet to come up with a safe alternative, (if I had the secret of a safe lining I would surely sell the rights for billions)I will stick to my KK.

Tiki said...

Hmmm let's see:
Naturally occurring minerals that we've evolved into needing some of in our diet OR
Human made plastics that have a tendency of making men grow boobs and women deep voices... I'll take the minerals thank you very much!

Anonymous said...

"well water is notorious for leaching because it is so corrosive, as explained in the page before your reference, mostly from low PH or dissolved oxygen."

There are no guarantees that the water that you consume, is exactly pH = 7. If that water that you put in a stainless steel container (be it Klean Kanteen or any other brands) is slightly below the pH range, wouldn't it be true that leaching may occur into the water?

"Made from electropolished, non-leaching, high grade 304 L.N. (18/8) stainless steel... The steel is put through a electropolishing process which seals the surface and prevents minerals from migrating into the contents"

May I ask where this statement appears in the kleankanteen.com website?

"So if you're hanging your hat on this one, paid by SIGG study and declare SIGG totally safe, I have a covered bridge to sell you."

How is that different that Monarch Lab test on Klean Kanteen? Isn't that test is being paid by Klean Kanteen? So when Klean Kanteen paid their own test, is perfectly legit; but when Sigg paid for their test, it isn't?

Also the lab test tests only for lead and nickel. What about other metals, like iron and chromium? Why didn't they fully disclose all metal found in the test water? "How conveeeeenient" is that?

So far it's simply your opinions, conjectures and speculations - that there are problems with Sigg, yet you failed to prove or provide proof of any of your claims via scientific means.

"I believe SIGG is hiding something, and you should too."

If by that standard, I believe Klean Kanteen is hiding something, and you should too.

It's one thing to promote KK, but to promote KK by bashing Sigg with baseless claims, and well as applying double standards, is another story.

Real Green Girl Activist said...

I'll try to address your comments:
1 -You are right, some water, especially from the tap could corrode stainless steel if the PH were low, just like you should not store acidic juice or vinegar in stainless steel for any length of time. I think water should be used within a day anyway, regardless of its container.
2-Admittedly this statement is not on their new website, but remains on many websites selling the Klean Kanteen product. The question begs, why was it changed? KK does electro-polish but probably can not guarantee "sealing" which is a pretty absolute statement.
3-Point taken as far as who does the testing so here is a really important link to test results paid for by SIGG on their bottles, KK and Environ that tested over 41 elements in PPM.http://www.mysiggg.com/LeachingMetals.pdf
I think SIGG was trying to show they did not leach aluminum.It also showed that KK is not leaching nickel and lead and other elements of concern, only slight iron and silicon.(part of SS)What is important to note is again, they tested at a high limit of Parts Per Million. (PPM) Standard water testing of municipalities for aluminum is done at PPBillion for safety. http://www.ewg.org/tapwater/contaminants/contaminant.php?contamcode=1002

Stainless steel is being used more for drinking water piping as the metal of choice because of its non-leaching (remember it's all relative) capabilities. http://www.web4water.com/library/view_article.asp?id=352&channel=4 Is SS perfect? no- drinking directly from a fresh non-polluted stream is my idea of perfection but not attainable.
Thanks for all these comments.

www.beyoga.org said...

i agree with Wirehead's comment on 1 April 2009. my friend and i compared our bottles (mine is older than hers)...mine has a copper-colored lining and hers is silver-colored. is hers safe?

Green Girl: what do you think about sigg's new eco care liner?? is that their indirect way of admitting they shouldn't have used their old lining? they should admit + recall their old products!

thank you for your blog.

Real Green Girl Activist said...

How many marketers did it take to come up with "Eco Care" liner? What I do not find are any specifics on the internet. I find general terms like "no organic solvents (VOCs)" (sort of like "natural") which is like water based latex paint or epoxy which still has to contain binders (binders can be acrylic in water base too) Just because something is water based doesn't mean other things aren't floating around in it.
What bothers me most is still reading (this from a SIGG rep)"SIGG has been conducting these tests for years". This gives the impression of many many tests; I have only found 3, 2 SIGG paid for, 1 German test only showed no
aluminum, the BPA testing above 2 PPB and the third one testing in PPM. This rep goes on to say that SIGG tests showed 0% leaching. http://www.citynews.ca/blogs/jeelicious_26182.aspx In light of the testing limits at PPM and PPB, I find comments like this deceptive and very disturbing. According to the press release, "This new liner has been thoroughly tested and is certified to be 100% free of BPA" Really? Where are the results? Certified? By whom? Why isn't this on the SIGG website? Show us please. If anyone can show me this new testing on the eco liner, I would love to review it. Until such time, I think it was a press release opportunity while hiding behind the eco screen liner.

www.beyoga.org said...

hi RGG,

thanks for posting my comment + your reply.

you've really inspired my own search regarding this.

my blog: http://beyoga.blogspot.com/2009/06/9-june-2009-awaken-to-your-truth.html

thanks.

in love + truth,
leah

Real Green Girl Activist said...

You're welcome Leah. I'm just trying to see through the smoke screens to get to the truth. Another good Stainless steel bottle and a company who is "transparent" is www.greenbottleonline.com They've redesigned their tops since they were having trouble. Growing pains.
Thanks for taking the time to write.

Sam said...

The truth is now out, Sigg has admitted their liners did contain BPA. They are trying to spin the story as "our new lining is BPA free!". People are not amused.

http://www.zrecommends.com/zrecommends/detail/siggs-bpa-confession-you-arent-going-to-like-it-any-more-than-we-do/

I agree with the comments about aluminum, especially how poorly suited it is for this use. They keep making these bottles for the same reason beer is put in aluminum can (cheap material and automated production). Sigg already makes steel bottles in China (though they are avoiding mention of it at present), but I think they are having a hard time with the idea because it has less profit and undermines their "Swiss" schtick (which is BS because robots largely make aluminum containers, not Swiss people"

Real Green Girl Activist said...

Thanks for your comment. That link is excellent, yes I read it. Did you see my post today?
Cheers

cyclotourist said...

FYI, after returning my BPA bottles to them, I just received email confirmation from SIGG w/ a "gift certificate code" to purchase new bottles at their on-line store with free shipping. Whew, long sentence there...

Real Green Girl Activist said...

so, was that a good thing? Thanks for taking the time to write.cheers

cyclotourist said...

Yeah, probably. I can put the $$$ into buying one of their lunch boxes or something. In the meantime I bought a KK 40oz!

Real Green Girl Activist said...

Hey, good for you! Thanks for caring and reading. PS SIGG was a no show at the Natural Products Expo East - chicken

charly darwin said...

Wrong. They are both the wrong choice. Why are you only comparing BPA vs. stainless steel. I thought this was a "green" blog. What about the other more important and devastating issues like environmental concerns/treatment, social issues, civil rights, basic freedoms, etc. Sigg may have BPA but what does KK do? KK goes a step beyond and by hypocritically making their product in PR_C. Yeah, China. (If they both do it, as claimed, then they are both guilty). Saying a KK is better because it doesn't have BPA is one thing but outsourcing and helping the PR_C further its own apathy (actually it goes a step beyond that so let's call it destruction), greed and where there are essentially no environmental, health and safety regulations and enforcement. Saying a green company can create "green" products in the most polluted country in the world is inherently hypocritical and extremely naive. By working with and fueling/funding the most destructive government in the world right now, KK is advancing and promoting the opposite of what it claims to be protecting. Greed, environmental destruction, civil rights violations, unfair labor practices, inequality, and discrimination. I don't see how this blog can even promote KK. What is so "green" about making a product in PR_C? Because KK uses windmills to fuel their websites??? Hah, give me a break. Look at what is going on in China.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/10/world/asia/10pollute.html

That is where KK's $$ goes from their factory taxes. Yes, that is where it will continue to go, so please remove this "green" seal of approval from the Klean Kanteen image. Lack of BPA does not mean = "green".

Real Green Girl Activist said...

You are correct - China, as a country, is really bad at polluting but individual factories vary greatly. There are certifications for factories and their environmental management which many, including KK have secured. (including SIGG since they manufacture their stainless steel there too.)The U.S is the worst polluter per capita with regard to CO2 and the worst polluter of fertilizer but I still eat food and choose to consume at the local level since pollution, or lack of, is more at the individual level since most government regulations around the world are typically inadequate according to environmentalist and set up, unfortunately, for industry and not the environment. Whew. I strongly believe in free enterprise and if individuals within any country are manufacturing something in the best way it can, I don't have a problem with rewarding them with business. Others around them will take notice and hopefully improve their own standards. That is happening here as well as companies obtain the various certifications available. If we all wait and hold our breaths for governments to change, we're doomed. Change has to happen both at the ground up and the top down if we are going to make things better. I don't think "we" are in any position to be casting the first stone with regard to pollution. Stones should be thrown at individuals making decisions, not their governments. My personal humble opinion. Thanks for commenting and caring.

Anonymous said...

I own both of them and I agree that the Klean Kanteen wins. I love my Klean Kanteen even if it is a bit heavier to lug it around. I've reviewed mine on my blog at http://simplysimple.info/water-bottle-shootout-klean-kanteen-sigg/

John Cecil said...

I've been using the same thermos, double walled mugs, storage containers for 13 years and it is as good as new.

I have 4 Klean Kanteen and one newer Sigg. I'll use the Sigg for light use and get rid of it in a few years before it has issues with the liner.

The sad thing is that #1 recycled plastic apparently doesn't leach BPA, so all the people who bought the old Siggs probably were exposed to higher levels of BPA (epoxy liner) than they would have with plastic water bottles off the shelf.

If you want bombproof go with stainless.

Real Green Girl Activist said...

Right you are. The irony is SIGG is just another plastic bottle with a higher carbon footprint. It is no different than drinkning from PET or the new Nalgenes with Eastman Triton, still all plastic.
Thanks for commenting.

Swamp Rat said...

I stumbled on to your website while googling Klean Kanteen. I spent 25 years in the semiconductor high purity gas and chemical industry and gave lectures in high purity, lived in China for two years and am relatively knowledgeable in electropolish chemistry. Time to clear up a few misconceptions.

Electropolish can be done passively (good) or actively (best), with the active electropolish involving inserting a cathode inside the product to be polished while passive has the electrode on the side of a tank filled with nitric, sulphuric and phosphoric acids along with deionized water. The electropolish process removes material from the steel, mostly the less noble metals and smooths out the surface roughness. The end result is to form a chromium oxide layer over the surface and reduce the iron exposure. The chrome oxide layer is very corrosion resistant and water at relatively ambient temperature isn't going to bother it.

I'm not familiar with the specific coatings used by SIGG so I can't comment on that. However, having lived in China and done business there, I can assure you that unless the plant is owned and operated by the manufacturer (and even then it's iffy), the quality control and safety procedures are in no way comparable to what we're used to over here. There is no local enforcement of FDA or OSHA type laws and any violation can be made to 'disappear', so to speak. That's just the way it is over there and to think otherwise is naive. Based on what I've read on your blog, it seems KK is using a locally owned supplier so I would hold judgment on whether they manufacture responsibly, and the same can be said for SIGG. Neither product is really "green" since metals manufacturing is a messy process. I certainly wouldn't want to live downwind of an aluminum or steel plant. Those acids used aren't exactly "green" either.

The point I'm really trying to make is that you can't figure this stuff out by googling it on the web. Material chemistry is complex. Most of the technical comments here are, to put it kindly, uninformed. I'm sure both KK and SIGG try to maintain environmentally clean standards but by manufacturing in China, they're elevating low cost over "green".

Real Green Girl Activist said...

I couldn't agree with you more. KK did try to have their products made in the US but the cost was 4 times as high and no American is going to pay $80. for a bottle. So is it greener to manufacture something people will actually buy in order to stop using throw away plastic water bottles? I think so. These are not perfect solutions by any means. It is an exercise in prioritizing the "greenness" of choices. We, myself included, should really use words like "more green" and "less green" to be accurate, since it really is not a black and white (green and white? or black and green?) situation. The greenest way to drink water would be to find a clean stream or river, bend over and cup your hands. But that isn't going to happen.

As far as China goes, they are going through amazing changes at the moment. I respect your insight and time there, but even China is capable of changing and improving the human condition and I think there is great evidence to suggest that. SIGG does have employees on the ground supervising their manufacturing (according to them) and KK visits their factories at least 4 times per year. Just as the US is improving their own environmental track record, I believe that others are also able to do the same. It's about accountability. I know enough wholesale manufacturers who are raising expectations, which are being met.

Again, the main objective is to stop people from using disposable, wasteful water bottles with as little negative impact to the environment as possible while respecting workers. A tall order I understand. I do believe it is moving in the right direction.

Thank you for your information on electropolishing. That was really interesting and raises a bunch more questions!

Jenny said...

I love my Klean Kanteen! It has everything i love about a good bottle! Its durable, doesnt leak, and its good for the environment!
I love drinking water now...i bring my bottle everywhere!

leslie landberg said...

Hi, I am curious about the epoxy lining in Sigg bottles and so I took off the lid and smelled inside. It gave off a pungent odor. This indicates to me that anything that is "off gassing" is unstable and is going to leach these elements into any liquid it comes into contact with. I feel it would be a great idea for a group to pay an independent lab to reverse engineer the lining and discover, once and for all, what is in it. Thanks for a great discussion!

Real Green Girl Activist said...

I am not sure if you are talking about an old bottle or new bottle. The new "eco" care liner is nylon based, is my understanding (which is still petroleum based)and nylon can smell, especially if heat is introduced. The bottom line is, you are still drinking out of "plastic". You may be interested in the follow-up article http://realgreengirl.blogspot.com/2008/10/sigg-still-not-green-and-heres-why.html

Thanks for caring to write!

Anonymous said...

Dear Green girl,

Sorry to pick this up again. After searching all over town for sigg bottles (dwindling supply) I finally gave up and bought a KK. I've found all the research here very helpful, which is why I will continue to use my old sigg, along with my new larger KK and, should I ever find the specific sigg I wanted, buy another. You maybe confused... Read on.

Fact is both bottles may leech some stuff. The questions are: what would you rather have inside you and what would you rather support? Personally ill take the more chemicaly inert of the two bottles. That's an absolute statement and its not too hard to answer. I'll also take the more sustainable... Again easy to answer, read on.

Sigg is suffering from terrible PR and being flat out shady in thier communcations tactics. But let's not forget, they did no actual harm ( think Nalgene). Real sustainability is sticking around for 105 years and manufacturing with state of the art technology in Switzerland. This happens to be one of the most economically and environmentally sustainable countries in the world. A leading edge of western civilization where old world crafts meet the latest in innovation. I dare say their food and drug standards are also a smidgen higher than ours. You hate sigg... That's obvious and your pasion is actually invigorating :). You also make some decent points regarding potential saftey. fair enough. However in spite of all that's been said, I just can't feel good about the way KKs are made or marketed... Got a sneaking suspicion we'll all be back here talking about heavy metal leeching a year from now....and I really really wish they were made in the US. Because in the US (Like the EU), compliance is an ethic and a law... Not an inconvenience when you get caught by a foreign inspector.

When you speak with your $ you have a choice and responsibility that goes far beyond the actual product in your hand. It goes to the economy and ethics you are supporting.... Ppb vs ppm? Gimme a break... Look what's in our frakin food and air.

Because enough people jumped to sigg on a bandwagon and then off just as quickly ( and irrationally) a superior product is suffering. Ergo, a conscientious consumer like myself gives up on finding the bottle he needs in local stores and makes the douche bag move of buying the current water bottle fashion statement. Heck I even got the bamboo... Cause that's SUPER Green right? (Sarcasm) I feel a bit shamed... Hope I'm not alone in realizing that we need to use more facts, less and opinion and less emotion cause they are SO far reaching when we put them out into the world collectively.

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