Concord, Mass. becomes first US town to ban plastic water bottles

The historic New England town has become the first to ban the sale of single-use plastic water bottles.
Written by Sarah Korones, Contributor

Citizens of Concord, Massachusetts are taking after former resident Henry David Thoreau’s and his environmentalist leanings.

As of Jan. 1, 2013, the historic New England town became the first in the U.S. to ban single-serve plastic water bottles.

The ban comes as a result of the efforts of 84-year-old activist Jean Hill. The Concord resident has been championing the effort since 2010 when she started lobbying neighbors and politicians on the environmental consequences of disposable water bottles.

And while Hill finally got her way when the ban went into effect on New Year’s Day, the activist hasn’t completely avoided opposition.

Many local business owners have spoken out against the new rule, saying it restricts freedom of choice and that those who do want bottled water will simply drive to a neighboring town to get it. Unsurprisingly, the bottled water industry is also less than pleased with the ban and some groups have even considered fighting back with a lawsuit.

"This ban deprives residents of the option to choose their choice of beverage and visitors, who come to this birthplace of American independence, a basic freedom gifted to them by the actions in this town more than 200 years ago," the International Bottled Water Association said in a statement in September. "It will also deprive the town of needed tax revenue and harm local businesses that rely on bottled water sales."

Businesses needn’t get too up in arms however — the ban is mostly intended to raise awareness about the wasteful nature of plastic water bottles. Stores that violate Concord’s new rule will receive a warning on the first offense, a $25 fine for the second, and a $50 fine for the third.

[via TreeHugger, Boston Globe]

Image: Brian Smithson/Flickr

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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