As of January 1, 2013, Concord, Massachusetts has become one of the first communities in the U.S. to put in place a plastic bottle ban on the sale of 1 liter (34 ounces) or less single-serving plastic water bottles. This is the result of a three-year campaign by local activists who pushed to reduce waste and fossil fuel use as a reaction to the simple reality of bottled water companies draining aquifers, and selling water back to consumers.
A few tale-telling numbers from the campaign “Ban the Bottle”:
- 17 million barrels of oil are used per year to make all the plastic water bottles used in the U.S. alone
- American consumed over 50 million single serve bottles of water in 2007
- The 2007 recycling rate was 23%, which equates to 38 billion bottles in landfills
- Per the EPA, the U.S. generated 31 million tons of plastic waste in 2010
The hope behind this plastic bottle ban is that it will steer consumers away from buying bottled water and toward considering the many other good alternatives. Hope also that other towns will consider taking action too.
Except for an emergency adversely affecting the availability and/or quality of drinking water to Concord residents, the first offense now results in a warning, the second in a $25 fine, and the third (and each following offense) in a $50 fine.
Yet, consumers are free to walk 2 min away to the next town and buy their usual size bottles, or they can buy bigger sizes in their own town since the focus is on 34oz bottles or smaller, and businesses are still selling their larger ones…