klean kanteen
(Photo/Klean Kanteen)

Better Bottles: Klean Kanteen Switches to Recycled Steel

The family-owned drinkware company doubles down on its planet-friendly profile, folding recycled steel into its manufacturing process.

Klean Kanteen has been a bastion of sustainability since its early days. Now, the Climate Neutral-certified bottle maker infuses its eco-friendly approach to its material choices. The company announced on August 2 that it will make its products with certified 90% post-consumer recycled 18/8 stainless steel, starting in 2022.

It adds a commitment to make 95% of its entire product line out of recycled steel by 2023. And Intertek, a third-party assurance certifier, will partner with Klean Kanteen to guarantee the quality of its materials.

“Since our inception, we have made climate action a priority,” said Jeff Cresswell, co-CEO of Klean Kanteen. “Evolving to use recycled steel was the most impactful next step we could take, and we’re thrilled to partner with Intertek to certify our recycled stainless steel — it wasn’t easy, but the results are worth it.”

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Another Big Green Step Forward

Klean Kanteen’s sustainability track record is proven. In addition to its Climate Neutral Certification, it’s also a Certified B-Corporation and a 1% For the Planet member.

Founded in 2004 with the purpose of reducing consumer dependency on single-use bottles, it also supports organizations dedicated to protecting the environment, like American Rivers and Nature Bridge.

The company also walks the walk at its own facilities by using solar panels and purchasing carbon offsets and renewable energy credits. It remains a family- and employee-owned company, which it says helps its capacity to innovate and challenge the status quo.

Using recycled steel for its products, then, is a logical next step for the company. By replacing virgin steel in its supply chain, Klean Kanteen estimates it will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from steel by 40%. It also estimates a 30% reduction in energy demand from the switch.

It’s important to note that as long as Klean Kanteen uses 18/8 food-grade steel for its bottles, it will never exceed more than 90% recycled materials. Retaining the qualities that define 18/8 requires 10% virgin steel. For that component, the company will source virgin scrap from “other production products,” it told us.

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Klean Kanteen: Recycled Steel Rollout

Recycled steel Klean Kanteen products will hit the market in a phased launch online and in-store. Starting in spring 2022, the company will first use recycled material for the TKWide and Straw.

Then during the summer, the Classic and Vacuum Insulated Classic collections will make the switch. As noted, 95% of the entire line will be recycled steel by 2023.

Klean Kanteen joins several companies already using recycled steel in their bottles, like Ocean Bottle and Rockay. Keep an eye out for the swap, and check out the products that will feature the new materials on Klean Kanteen’s website (the wide bottles will get the update first).

And when it’s time to retire your worn-out steel bottle, take it to an appropriate recycling center. Who knows — it might reincarnate as a water bottle.

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Sam Anderson

Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.