With environmental friendliness being a key focus nowadays, single use plastic has attracted much negative publicity and every effort is being made to reduce its use where possible. One easy way of reducing single use plastic is the use of reusable drinking bottles, which have gained popularity in recent years due to their environmental merits and with more innovative designs available in the market.
Even amongst fitness enthusiasts, the use of reusable drinks bottles and shakers has increased. It has been shown though that if the bottles are not properly cleaned, especially after using them for protein shakes, these bottles may start to smell and grow more than just your muscle mass. BioCote® partner, Alpha Designs, has identified this issue early on and addressed it by incorporating antimicrobial technology into key parts of their shaker bottles.
Hygiene issues in reusable bottles and shakers
The popularity of protein powder, used for a variety of reasons such as nutritional supplements to build and tone muscle, repair tissue and aid weight loss, has increased sales of reusable protein shaker bottles. They offer gym-goers a simple way to consume powdered supplements during or after their workouts and are more environmentally friendly than drinking shakes from single-use plastic bottles.
Protein shakers create a dark, warm and humid environment, which creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, especially if bottles are not washed properly – with some having small parts that are hard to reach and clean. Shakers can also become cross-contaminated by being stored with sweaty clothes and gym equipment, as well as through the bacteria in people’s saliva and on their hands.
A recent study performed in Brazil compared 30 plastic shaker bottles used by gym members to 30 unused ones, isolating pathogenic microorganisms from a 90% of the used ones. The used bottles were predominantly contaminated with bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus (found in 27% of the bottles) and E. coli (found in 17%), as well as opportunistic species like Pseudomonas or Acinetobacter, in comparison to the contaminant-free unused bottles. Moreover, the researchers demonstrated the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA).
As another study has evidenced, that improperly cleaned reusable bottles are a potential hygiene hazard, showing that 70% of the sample bottles presented above 100 CFU/ml of bacteria, with a 60% presenting over 500 CFU/ml. The results support the fact that water and surfaces in contact with water are the perfect breeding grounds for microorganisms due to the abundance of nutrients, and as any other food-contact surface, they need to be adequately cleaned and sanitised between uses.
Good cleaning practices are key
Contamination levels are influenced by bottle usage and cleaning practices. Not every user makes an effort to clean them directly after use or before the next use. Manual cleaning with warm water and soap or cleaning in the dishwasher, if it is safe to do so, is an effective way to temporarily remove microbes from reusable bottles.
Avoiding leaving the bottle filled with water for long periods of time in between uses and changing the water every day will also help to steer clear of microbial overload. When using protein shake powder, cleaning is even more imperative as any residue powder can quickly cause microbes, such as bacteria and mould, to proliferate and give shaker bottles an unpleasant odour, which can be difficult to remove, and may cause staining and material degradation.
Integrating a second line of defence: antimicrobial technology
In general, a good hygiene practice, including frequently washing your hands, is essential to avoid the spread and proliferation of microbes. Whilst regular and thorough cleaning can temporarily remove microbes from bottles, integrating antimicrobial technology throughout the material of the bottle or individual parts can help to actively control the level of microbes on those surfaces in between cleans.
This led Alpha Designs, a manufacturer of shaker bottles and water jugs for gym use, to launch the world’s first antibacterial protein shaker bottle: the Alpha Bottle V2. Working closely with BioCote®, the Alpha Designs team have integrated antimicrobial technology throughout the bottle’s material. The antimicrobial protection helps to prevent bad odours from bacteria and mould growth, as well as preventing the bottle from microbial staining or degradation over time, increasing its lifetime.
Once manufactured into a product, BioCote® antimicrobial technology works continuously and permanently, and is effective against a broad spectrum of bacteria, including E. coli, MRSA, Salmonella, Campylobacter and Listeria. It acts continuously between cleaning and can reduce bacteria by up to 99.99%.
Steven Marzouk, managing director at Alpha Designs, said: “We focus on function over form without compromising on design, and believe we have developed the ultimate drinks bottles for modern fitness enthusiasts. Every product is designed from the ground up, following extensive research and always with the end user experience in mind. We know that reusable shakers can provide the perfect environment for bacteria to grow, which can cause very bad odours, so we have addressed the cleanliness and durability issues through our partnership with BioCote®. We’ll be looking at making similar improvements to our other products too.”
For ease of cleaning and mixing, the Alpha Bottle V2, which is available in 750ml and 1,000ml capacities, has a rounded internal base, which prevents powders from sticking. In addition to delivering hygiene benefits, the bottle features a leak-proof seal and lid as well as an ergonomic textured grip. It’s BPA and DEHP free, and microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe.
About BioCote® Technology
In addition to protecting plastic materials, BioCote® antimicrobial additives can also be integrated into paints & coatings, silicones, textiles and ceramics. BioCote® silver ion technology is used across a wide range of sectors, including healthcare, transportation, education, construction, food, home and leisure.
BioCote® is the only antimicrobial solutions provider to have its additives HACCP International certified as food-safe and suitable for addition into food contact products. The BioCote® trademark is globally recognised as a sign of antimicrobial quality, and independent testing demonstrates that protected materials carrying this mark are performing to non-negotiable quality and efficacy standards.
To find out more about how our antimicrobial additives may be incorporated into your manufacturing process, or if you are interested in protecting your own products with proven BioCote® technology, please get in touch with a member of the team on +44 (0) 2477 712 489 or contact us via the form below.