How Did We Get to Trendy Water Bottles?
Going “green” is now a term everyone has heard of. People are now asked to consider their own roles in the environment around them. This could mean buying a hybrid car, sharing a ride to work or even composting our kitchen waste. One very tangible and easy to correct habit has been to target the use of disposable plastic water bottles that have become popular. According to the EPA, in 2010, the United States generated 31 million tons of plastic waste.
To shed light on the issue, there have been numerous grassroots campaigns found across the nation. “Ban the Bottle” is a campaign recognized mostly in Colleges and Universities to make plastic water bottle sales banned on campus. There are currently 8 Colleges in New England engaged in this campaign, including Harvard, Brown, and Dartmouth.
“Think Outside the Bottle” is a campaign in which 75 National Parks are involved to ban the sale of plastic water bottles on the grounds of National Parks in the hopes that the 100 million visitors per year will bring their own re-usable bottles and will phase out the sale and distribution of bottled water. The parks involved in “Think Outside the Bottle” say this initiative not only cuts cost due to transportation and trash removal, but also raises the awareness to the need to support the local infrastructure of the water supply.
“Refill Revolution” was kicked off at Bonaroo, a well-known four day music festival in Tennessee with over 90,000 attendees in 2014. To help reduce the amount of trash the festival created, festival vendors sold reusable water bottles for free refills at hydration stations located throughout the grounds. The campaign slogan was “Refill, Don’t Landfill.”
Congratulations to Our Local Trend Setters
Did you know that Concord, Massachusetts became the first town in the Nation to ban single-serve waters bottles? In 2009, Jean Hill’s grandson showed her images of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (check it out here at your own risk!) which kicked off her determination to make an effort locally. Working with campaign manager Jill Appel, she tirelessly fought to bring change in her town. The International Bottled Water Association tried to match the campaign with its own efforts with phone calls and mass mailings warning residents of the “dire consequences” of the loss if the ban passed.
Their efforts took over 3 years, but finally came to fruition in 2013. The bill stated “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.” There is an exemption for an “emergency adversely affecting the availability and/or quality of drinking water to Concord residents.”
The first offense results in a warning, the second in a $25 fine, and the third (and each following offense) in a $50 fine.
Hill and Appel were recognized by the EPA at the 2015 Environmental Merit Awards ceremony. We congratulate you for your great work!