About 100 BCE, Syrians invented the glass bottle by blowing molten glass through a tube. Until mass production became possible, glass bottles were expensive, so Apollinaris and other waters were sold in earthen jars. Always choose glass if possible, it just has a nicer feel and looks more substantial.

I’ve found no evidence of any taste difference between glass and plastic, but I keep looking. If you want to drink the still water from an ugly plastic bottle in an epicurean context, decant it or put the bottle into a sleeve.

For high-end bottled waters, the glass bottle is a must. The bottles; though sometimes over designed and under functional, as in the case of Voss (the water’s slim bottle is easily jostled), are the most visible aspect of a water brand. While some bottlers only put their water in glass, other brands establish a distinct identity in both glass and plastic (Ty Nant, for example). Lately, some bottlers that have previously only bottled in PET are moving to glass in order to capture a higher market segment through sales in restaurants and hotels. Perrier, on the other hand, departed in 2001 from its well-known glass bottle by introducing a half-liter PET bottle.

When you see the number 1 in the recycling arrows on the bottom of a drink bottle or jar of peanut butter, that package has been made with polyethylene terephthalate, or PET. This type of polyester is a strong, transparent plastic resin that keeps its shape even when subjected to temperature changes. PET is also fairly cheap to produce, doesn’t shatter like glass, and is lightweight and recyclable.


"Avoid freezing water in plastic bottles to prevent exposure to carcinogenic dioxins." Scientists agree that there are no dioxins in plastics. Furthermore, cold temperatures actually inhibit the diffusion of chemicals. "Reusing plastic water bottles (PET) can cause them to break down into carcinogenic compounds (such as diethylhydroxylamine, or DEHA)."

The IBWA says this belief comes from nothing more than someone’s master’s thesis, which itself states that DEHA is not considered a carcinogen by government authorities. PET doesn’t contain or decompose into DEHA, which the FDA has approved for contact with food. But you should always wash and dry bottles thoroughly before reusing them to prevent the spread of bacteria.