Massachusetts Town Strives to Ban Plastic Water Bottles
It all started when 82-year old Concord, Massachusetts resident Jean Hill used photos of the Pacific Gyre to help fellow residents and local/state law makers realize how dangerous and destructive plastic water bottles can actually be. Hill also highlighted the results of a study conducted by the Container Recycling Institute which found that 88% of plastic water bottles do not get recycled, and this is at an astonishing rate of 30 million bottles a day. One reason for this might be that water bottles are not redeemable for recycling like glass bottles and aluminum cans are.
The residents of Concord were definitely affected by Hill’s attempts to capture their attention as they voted in April of 2010 to ban the sale of bottled drinking water from the town. The ban was slated to start in July 2011, but the state’s Attorney General, Martha Coakley rejected the resident-approved proposal in July 2010, three months after the vote.
This did not stop Hill. She joined up with Jill Appel and the two worked to rework the by law to be reviewed by Coakley again. Seven months later Hill told Concord Conserves, a magazine put out by the non-profit organization of the same name, that the bottled water ban is more than just a recycling issue.
“Even if we recycled all bottles, the bottles would still cause harm to the environment in the form of fossil fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions.” Hill said. “Bottled water would still be a virtually unregulated, costly and unjust product.”
Hill also urged her fellowConcordresidents, any anyone else who would listen, that we all need to reduce the amount of trash in the world. And to do that we must work to reduce the amount of plastic water bottles that are out there, not recycle them.
The ban was brought up for vote once again April 25, 2012 at a Concord Town Meeting. It was passed by 39 votes. Now the proposal goes back to the Attorney General for approval. If Coakley does approve it, Concordwill become the first community in the country to ban the sale of single-serving polyethylene terephthalate (PET) water bottles in sizes less than 1 liter, or 34 ounces.
While some might take the stand that as American’s we have the freedom to buy bottled water, those in favor of the ban could make the counter argument and ask if that means we also have the freedom to continue destroying the planet. Supporters of the ban say the reasons bottled water should be banned include:
- The production and consumption of bottled water leads to water shortages
- Plastic water bottle accumulation contributes to climate change
- Our landfills cannot support the current amount of plastic water bottles
Of course, the Concord water ban has the $10 billion bottled water industry worried that other towns will hear about what is going on in Concord and want to do the same in their towns. Even before talk of the Concord ban began, more than 100 towns across the U.S. had already prohibited the spending of city dollars on the product as a way to help reduce the amount of plastic in landfills and waterways as well as reduce greenhouse gases.
Reasons to JOIN US include:
- It's absolutely FREE!
- Get Green Tips You MUST know about.
- How to's on going green, saving money, and having fun.
- Keep up-to-date on our posts in cased you missed them.