Upon walking into a grocery store these days, we think nothing of seeing shelves and shelves, walls upon walls of bottled water. And many of us -- whether we're proud to admit it or not -- find ourselves schlepping said water bottles home on a regular basis. But this is a practice that recently came to a halt in one Northeast community. The historic town of Concord, Massachusetts has enacted a ban on the sale of single-serving plastic water bottles (of one liter or less), after a town meeting vote in April.
They're one of the first towns in the U.S. to make the bottles illegal. And yes, what they've done sounds pretty extreme -- but only at first.
Ultimately, it sounds like a brilliant idea -- and a step in the right direction, much like what Starbucks did today by offering customers a $1 reusable plastic tumbler. And I believe that, as local Concord activists have stated, banning the bottles will cut down on plastic waste and reduce the use of the fossil fuels used to make the bottles.
All right, confession time: I am ashamed -- yes, that's right, ashamed! -- to admit I do buy bottled water. I'm afraid of the known, reported toxins in our town's water. I have health conditions that could be exacerbated by certain pollutants, like heavy metals, or additives, like fluoride. On account of some of my health concerns, I also strive to be more alkaline so I buy higher pH, less acidic water. If my fiance and I owned our own home right now, we would have already installed one of those fancy water filtering systems. But we don't, so we're waiting, and I buy water in the meantime. And it's horrible, I know. But at least I buy the biggest bottles I can -- not the little guys Concord has outlawed.
So maybe I'm currently a total hypocrite, fine. But I still feel like any effort to reduce plastic waste is a good move. I try to make up for my bottled water consumption by refusing to accept plastic bags and always bringing my reusable bags to shop. I love that Seattle has a plastic bag ban, and I hope that spreads east. And Concord's got the right idea -- there really is no reason for these teensy weensy water bottles especially. (The mini ones that are like two sips worth drive me nuts!)
In the end, we'll adjust, adapt, bring our own bags to the store, and start using water filters and stainless steel water bottles. The bottom line is that when it comes to some of these items that are straight-up wasteful, it really is so easy to do away with them -- we'd be fools not to.
What do you think about banning bottled water?
Image via Steven Depolo/Flickr