How much water do you drink in a day? Whether you just completed a workout, spent some time at the beach or just need something to quench your thirst, you likely reach for a disposable bottle of water.

The average American drinks 167 disposable bottles of water each year, and some people refill those bottles again and again in an effort to save money and the environment.

While refilling disposable water bottles sounds smart and thirty, it’s actually a health hazard. Here’s what you should know about refilling bottles:

The dangers of refilling disposable water bottles
Staying hydrated is important to your health, but reusing a plastic water bottle is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, health officials say.

The plastic used to create water bottles is porous, making it easy for microscopic bacteria to form in the tiny holes. One study examined 76 water bottles that were refilled, and found 66 percent of them had bacterial levels that exceed health regulations.

In another study, the University of Texas Health Center tested water bottles that were reused for a week and found that every bottle contained bacteria that could give people symptoms that mimic food poisoning.

Even washing bottles with soap and water isn’t effective because the plastic is too hard to clean thoroughly.

Reusable water bottles are safer
If you can’t rinse and reuse disposable water bottles, what can you do? After all health experts from the Mayo Clinic say men should drink about 13 cups of water a day, and women should drink about 11 cups. That’s an increase from the eight, eight-ounce glasses that was once the norm.

Refilling water bottles is a good idea; you just have to use the right kind of bottle. Rather than refilling disposable bottles, buy a reusable water bottle that’s made from aluminum or glass. Good Housekeeping Research Institute tested 32 bottles and suggests specific refillable bottles based on the results.

New technology could change the way you refill bottles
Water bottles are the most commonly refilled bottles. You might keep a refillable bottle on your desk at work and fill it at the water cooler, or you may refill a durable steel bottle for your weekend hike.

Americans are used to refilling water bottles, and now the technology exists to refill more than just water.

Refill technology now allows consumers to refill bottles containing everything from shampoo to motor oil. Imagine taking a bottle into your local retailer, tapping a few buttons like you’d do on a vending machine, and getting your favorite product refilled.

Consumers could refill laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, mouthwash, perfume – the list goes on and on.

If the technology exists, you’re probably wondering why you haven’t seen it, right? Retailers assume consumers won’t use it, even though Americans are accustomed to reusing things like water bottles and cloth bags.

Refilling reusable water bottles is just one step Americans can take to help the environment, but there’s an opportunity to do so much more.

Tell retailers that you’re ready to refill more than just water bottles. Tell them #WeWantRefill. Join the movement to make refill stations just as common as refillable water bottles.