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Klean Kanteen: Once, twice, still worth it

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Since I started working for EWG a mere six months ago, I have been through two serious kid cup searches. Not necessarily the most momentous events during that period, but quite possibly the most time-consuming.

The first was for the perfect low-dollar BPA-free sippy cup - chronicled right here on Enviroblog. A frustrating, but ultimately successful process.

The second cup search was more recent, and a bit different because I was after just two sippy cups with sealing lids. These were to be the ones we'd use for our own kids, not the multiples you need for playdates and parties, when ten kids need something to drink all at once. Because we only needed two, I was willing to spend a little more. But. Deep down, I knew they'd get lost. I mean, what sippy cup that you carry over your threshold doesn't get lost? And spending money on something I know will be lost is slightly defeating - especially these days.

But I bit the bullet, as the saying goes, and went for the kid-size Klean Kanteen with the pop-top lid (my kids are a little old for the sippy attachment). And while the Siggs were brighter and cuter, I wasn't sold, since consumers couldn't find out what the bottle lining contained. And in this day and age, I not only want to know so that I can make an informed decision for our family's health, I believe generally in my right to know. Now if we had a law strong enough to give me some peace of mind about the safety of industrial chemicals (ever heard of the Kid Safe Chemicals Act?), I could relax a little about labeling. A little.

So we enjoyed a fall semester of Klean Kanteens and then, as predicted, poof! Not under the car seats, not in the school lost-n-found, and my husband swears he didn't leave them at swim class. So while we loved them, they're gone. Ugh. And while part of me doesn't want to buy them again, I'm going to.

Why? Because it's my strong sense that Kleen Kanteen makes products the way I think they should be made - with safe materials, fair labor practices, and a business purpose that transcends the profit-only model. Just check out the FAQ on the web site, and I'm sure you'll be impressed by the company's approach, as I am. Wonder why lids are plastic, not steel? What about the paint on the colored ones, is it safe? And why do they make them in China? Of course you do. These we have to.

And for the record, I'm glad these products are available for us to drink safely, I am. But. I'm not glad that I can't trust all the kids' cups on the shelf? I should be able to. And so should you. If you're ready to make that a reality, join our grassroots campaign to pass the Kid Safe Chemicals Act. It's high time for serious reform.