By David Saunders, Health Editor | UPDATED: 08:28, 26 June 2020
Reusable drinks bottles reduce waste, protecting the environment, but are difficult to keep hygienically clean and odour-free. 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,
Alpha Bottle V2. Working closely with leading antimicrobial additives provider BioCote, antimicrobial technology has been integrated throughout the bottle’s material to prevent bacteria and mould growth, which can cause unpleasant odours, staining and material degradation.
The popularity of protein powder, used as a nutritional supplement 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.
With a background in the supplement industry and mass market plastic manufacture, Alpha Designs continually improves its designs and solves issues with existing products. For the launch of the Alpha Bottle V2, the company worked with BioCote to address the cleanliness issues associated with shaker bottles.
Protein shakers create a dark, warm and humid environment; 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.
Growth of bacteria and mould can give shaker bottles an unpleasant odour, which can be difficult to remove, and may cause staining and material degradation. Microbiological analysis carried out on shaker bottles has suggested that inadequate hygiene practices can lead to the growth of environmental microorganisms and even pathogens, which may pose a risk to human health. The study, published in August 2018, analysed the presence of different bacterial strains in used bottles from members of fitness centres and new non-used bottles. A total of 60 shakers (30 used and 30 non-used) were selected and submitted to microbiological analysis. All the non-used tests showed 100 per cent absence of contamination, while 90 per cent of the used bottles showed bacterial contamination. The bacteria isolated included Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas and E. coli.
Once manufactured into a product, BioCote’s 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 in minutes and can reduce bacteria by up to 99.99 per cent. This helps to prevent bad odours and products from becoming stained and degraded over time, increasing their lifetime.
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 gym users. 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’ve addressed this 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.
The protein shaker market is a new product application for BioCote, and, with an increasing number of people choosing reusable bottles, the company sees growth potential. Sean Reid, managing director of BioCote, said: “People now understand the importance of staying hydrated throughout the day, and are turning to reusable water bottles because of the environmental concerns surrounding disposable, single-use plastic. In 2018, environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy found that 36 per cent of Britons owned and regularly used a reusable water bottle2, and with the recent introduction of apps to help people find places to refill their water bottles for free, we can see this trend increasing.
“Reusable bottles can be difficult to keep clean, and can be the perfect place for bacteria to grow. The hygiene, cleanliness and durability benefits that are delivered by antimicrobial technology gives end users a great reason to choose a BioCote protected product.”
In addition to protecting plastic materials, BioCote antimicrobial additives can also be integrated into paints, coatings, textiles and ceramics, and are used across a wide range of sectors, including healthcare, 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 to 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 standards.