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Zero Waste Arlington, a Town of Arlington committee, reports the impact of Town Meeting's vote to adopt a ban on single-use plastic water bottles.

The group brought the article, 12, to Town Meeting after it was initiated by a longtime town resident. Town Meeting supported the article with an overwhelming vote of 199-42. 

Arlington is the 24th and largest municipality in Massachusetts to pass bottled-water restrictions, starting with Concord in 2012. “This ban reflects a growing concern from residents and consumers about the adverse effects plastic pollution has on greenhouse-gas emissions, litter, public health and the environment,” said Charlotte Milan, town recycling coordinator. 

The new bylaw will prohibit the sale of plastic bottles of noncarbonated, nonflavored water in sizes of one liter or less. The ban applies to any business in Arlington that sells bottled water, as well as to event planners, houses of worship and town departments such as schools. It takes effect Nov. 1.

More than 1.5 billion beverage bottles are sold each year in Massachusetts, but only around 20 percent get recycled. The rest end up as litter or in incinerators and/or landfills which pollute our air and water.

Discarded plastic destroys habitats, harms wildlife and affects public health by contaminating the food chain. Plastic is petroleum-based and a contributor to climate change.

Supporters note that residents can't recycle their way out of the single-use plastic pollution crisis; they need to reduce consumption.

"Taking water bottles out of the waste stream could be a beneficial change and reduce what we're putting into incinerators or landfills," said Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine in a May 25 news release.

“Zero Waste Arlington’s work is not finished. We are committed to working with town officials to plan and install outdoor water filling stations in strategic public locations and also conduct outreach to help residents and businesses adapt to the ban,” said Larry Slotnick, cochair of Zero Waste Arlington.

Zero Waste Arlington encourages residents to use reusable water bottles, which can be filled at home, in restaurants and at water-filling stations found in most municipal buildings. 

For more information, click here >> 

May 28, 2019: New name, mission: Zero Waste Arlington


This news announcement was published Monday, May 30, 2022.