Sigg as scapegoat?

First, let me say that I’m never been gaga over Sigg. I own no Sigg bottles. In fact, I’m not big on carrying water bottles around. I generally drink lots of water at home (in glasses and mugs). Hanging out at a cafe, I use their tableware. Working out at a gym, I drink from water fountains. The only time I “need” a water bottle is when traveling, hiking, or otherwise in the boonies. So, I’ve always found Sigg bottles catchy and cute, but rather expensive and not a necessary purchase.

In October, I was astounded at the outcry over Sigg’s revelation that their pre-2008 liner contained a trace amount of bisphenol A (BPA). Tests have proven that the old liners do not leach, but Sigg created a new liner to avoid any hint of contamination.

If Sigg claimed that their bottles were BPA-free, that was misleading. They should have been 100% clear. But, come on. Aren’t there bigger threats?

Why not go after investment banks, oil conglomerates, or big pharma? What about the multinational companies that manufacture in China, source of tainted pet food, infant formula, and construction materials? Get some space for all that stuff with lots of plastkasser to create more space in your home. Shouldn’t we be concerned that Sarah Palin’s forthcoming memoir is a runaway bestseller?

As for health scandals, how come no one’s complaining about the BPA in canned goods? Shouldn’t we, like Mayor Bloomberg, go ballistic about trans fats, neatly hidden in popular supermarket crackers and cookies? And have you ever calculated the number of calories and fat in Starbucks monstrosities and movie popcorn? Why slam Sigg and then eat a tub of movie popcorn?

Sigg is such a minor offender. But it’s an easy target. And it somehow offended the green/eco types who so ardently championed the stylish Swiss-made aluminum bottle over its predecessor, the economical, everyman Nalgene.

I found out about the scandal from a close friend with a three-year-old I’ll call T. Mommy exchanged T’s old bottle (white with farm animals) for a new one (lavender with underwater flora, chosen with remarkable decisiveness by T). Okay. Stick to the safe side with kids.

Initially I was wary of the liner. I offered to exchange my boyfriend’s Sigg bottle for him, figuring that he (being a guy) would forgo the replacement offer. Me? Returns, exchanges, and customer complaints are among my specialties. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized there was nothing really wrong with the bottle.

It was barely used. It was not leaching BPA. And, by returning it to Sigg, it would end up as junk. Aluminum is recyclable but not biodegradable, although it does decompose very slowly (think 500 years for an aluminum can). Siggs are advertised as recyclable, but are they really? My city’s curbside recycling program doesn’t take them. I pictured a gargantuan mountain of discarded Siggs, once desirable, now junk.

My boyfriend’s Sigg avoided the ax.



  1. This reminds me of a micromanager who’s scrutinizing everything, especially things that really don’t matter as much in the big picture, not because he/she cares, but because he/she wants to have some sense of control. “I’m managing!” “I’m making a difference!”


  2. well…. i would say that all those things that you mentioned that should be discussed- well they are.

    FoodRenegade is a great place to start with “Real Food” topics, No Impact Man, The Crunchy Chicken, Casaubon’s Book for peak oil…

    really out of all the “green” topics the SIGG outrage was a minor portion.

    however I do believe that the reason so many people were disappointed is that in the age of necessary change, peak oil, climate change and unavoidable lifestyle changes- consumers have to trust someone. SIGG was supposed to be one of the “good guys” who represented a small step in greener lifestyles.

    And they mislead their customers. In a huge way.

    It’s a small representation of a major issue- trust. The average American/Canadian has so little control over the major offenders that the small changes that are within our reach are invaluable. Voting doesn’t happen every day… but I drink water every day.

    In any case, I see your point about SIGG, however I do believe that if I want to make some real changes, such as avoiding chemicals and pesticides or supporting local farmers, I need to place my trust in something/one else at some point.

    And I disagree that the other topics aren’t discussed… I do think it’s surprising that more yogis aren’t more aware/conscious/discussing environmental issues though- with ahimsa and such… 🙂


  3. I do need a water bottle. I used to have a Nalgene and “upgraded” to a Kleen Kanteen. I chose KK specifically because it doesn’t have a lining and I just knew that if I got a Sigg, a few years down the line, we’d start to hear stories about the toxicity. I’m still kind of waiting for them to say that the Nalgene plastic is safer than stainless steel after all! As a consumer, you feel like a yo-yo at times.

    Anyway, I find the whole “green” movement amusing at times. . . the minute things that are focused in such an intense way. I read an article ( and though the tone is somewhat sarcastic, it makes a lot of good points.

    Indeed, EcoYogini, I think many yogis are aware/conscious about environmental issues. But practicing ahimsa, and being connected to the environment really has very little to do with a water bottle–or placing trust in something/one else to stay true to their claims of eco-friendliness. For many eco-conscious folks, it’s more about the appearance, the statement they are making that they care about the environment, they are invested and in the know . . . I don’t know if that’s the focus of people who are really invested and really connected so the ways in which they show their concern may be a whole let less visible and obvious.


  4. yep, environmental ‘fanatics’ are like many others- passionate and blind and a bit unreasonable.

    I do feel that ahimsa actually does have a lot to do with a water bottle… as in the choice you make could affect how you treat the planet…

    For myself (in any case), if I choose to drink water from a plastic bottle, than I am knowingly choosing to do harm to the planet and as an extension, myself. If I choose to drink water from a SIGG bottle that leaches chemicals into the water, my body and the environment, I am unknowingly choosing something that will harm the environment and myself.

    although sometimes silly- I think that every critique has it’s place. Perhaps I assume that most of the outrage had to do with the feeling of betrayal and trust and less to do with some weird social/SES statement…

    but then- I can’t speak for all environmentalists (for sure!), it simply interests me that less yogis are speaking out on this topic…


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