The citizens of Concord, Masschusetts have been working for the past two years to ban the use of single-serving plastic water bottles in the city. This effort was led by 82-year-old activist, Jean Hill, who has been lobbying neighbors and officials for the past two years. As of January 1, 2013, the ban has taken effect making Concord the first U.S. community to ban plastic water bottles.
The Town of Concord website sums up the new law: “It shall be unlawful to sell non-sparkling, unflavored drinking water in single-serving polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles of 1 liter (34 ounces) or less in the Town of Concord on or after January 1, 2013.”
Those violating the ban will be fined $25 the first two times, and repeat offenders can be find up to $50. That said, an exception will be made in the case of an emergency.
Back in 2010, Hill told The New York Times: “The bottled water companies are draining our aquifers and selling it back to us. We’re trashing our planet, all because of greed.”
“All these discarded bottles are damaging our planet, causing clumps of garbage in the oceans that hurt fish, and are creating more pollution on our streets,” says Hill in a statement. “This is a great achievement to be the first in the country to do this. This is about addressing an injustice.”
Why is this a significant move? According to Ban the Bottle:
“It takes 17 million barrels of oil per year to make all the plastic water bottles used in the U.S. alone. That’s enough oil to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year. In 2007, Americans consumed over 50 billion single serve bottles of water. With a recycling rate of only 23%, over 38 billion bottles end up in landfills.”
And that’s not all! According to a New York based graphic design firm, MSLK, Americans consume 1,500 bottles a second. In fact, MSLK found even more shocking facts:
Out of the 50 billion bottles of water being bought each year, 80% end up in a landfill, even though recycling programs exist.
17 million barrels of oil are used in producing bottled water each year.
Bottled water costs 1,000 times more than tap water. Drinking 2 Litres of tap water a day only costs 50 cents per year.
Plastic leaches toxins into the water, which have been linked to health problems such as reproductive issues and cancer.
New York City tap water surpasses all federal and state health standards.
There’s a financial benefit as well. The website shares that if an individual were to consume the recommended eight glasses a day via plastic single-serving water bottles, the annual cost would be $1,400. This number is significant in comparison to the $.49 a year for tap water annual rate.
Needless to say, there are many citizens who disagree with the ban and find this move to be too aggressive, but the ban is really no different than banning plastic bags.