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3 letters backing proposed ban on plastic water bottles

Christa Kelleher, a Precinct 5 Town Meeting member on Medford Street, submitted this letter.

It's critical that Town Meeting approve Article 12 to prohibit the sale of water in plastic bottles of one liter or less in order to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated by the use single-use plastic bottles.

lettersI am eager to see Article 12 passed, not only for the positive effect it would have on our environment, but also for the role this bylaw would play in raising awareness of the harms associated with single-use plastic containers and in changing current practices.

I applaud Arlington's Zero Waste Committee for its efforts to bring this article before Town Meeting. From outreach to local businesses to a survey of the largest retailers selling bottled water in town to informing the community about plastic water-bottle use in town, the Committee has worked in a thoughtful, informative and responsive manner.

We need to address plastic pollution with measures that will meaningfully curb the use of single-use plastics and help facilitate less reliance on them.

This ban will help to facilitate change that is necessary to reduce the environmental and climate impacts of plastic bottles. It will also disrupt our current reliance on plastic water bottles and demonstrate to the youth of our community that we are taking a key step to confront plastic pollution rather than choosing to "kick the bottle" down the road.

I appreciate Town Meeting's consideration of this proposed bylaw and urge Town Meeting members to vote in favor of Article 12.

This letter was published Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

Amy Speare of Ridge Street, a Precinct 15 Town Meeting member, submitted this letter.

The sheer volume of single-use plastics in our community is staggering. Massachusetts residents throw away 1 billion beverage containers every year. But not all those plastic bottles make it to the trash bin. 14 percent of all litter comes from beverage containers. This discarded plastic is destroying habitats, harming wildlife and contaminating the food chain.

Zero Waste Arlington estimates that well over 500,000 12 ounce single-use water bottles are sold per year in Arlington alone. However, statewide only around 20 percent of beverage containers get recycled. Even with improved regulation, we cannot recycle our way out of the deluge of single-use plastics. We need to reduce the quantity of this waste coming into our community in the first place.

Soon, Town Meeting will vote on Article 12, which would ban the sale of single-use plastic water bottles of 1 liter or less. Plastics are made from fossil fuels, in an energy-intensive process that emits greenhouse gases and creates hazardous chemicals. From fossil fuel extraction to waste management, plastics have an environmental cost at every life-cycle stage. Bottled water also has its own enormous hidden environmental costs. The total energy required for bottled water production is as much as 2,000 times the energy needed to produce tap water. Arlington is an environmentally-conscious community and we’re a leader in combating climate change.

We have successfully implemented bans on plastic bags and polystyrene and now it’s time to take the next responsible step and ban single-use plastic water bottles. Please contact your Town Meeting member and ask them to support Article 12 and this positive next step for the overall health and well-being of our community.

This letter was published Sunday, April 24, 2022.

Lynette Culverhouse of Draper Avenue, a Precinct 11 Town Meeting member, submitted this letter.

I am writing this letter in support of Article 12, which seeks to ban the sale of water in plastic bottles of 1 liter or less anywhere in Arlington.

I am a grandmother, and it is with great alarm that I confront the state of the planet that my generation has created that puts my grandchildren’s future at risk.

I am increasingly aware of the amount of single-use plastic that gets discarded and disposed of somewhere on our Earth. Forty percent of the 400 million tons of plastic produced worldwide each year is single use. It is destroying habitats, harming wildlife and contaminating the food chain.

Surely eventually the whole Earth will become plastic if we don’t stop this now. This is a starting point. It is my belief that we need to eliminate entirely our personal use of plastics to prevent the inevitable climate and environmental crisis that is descending on us with increasing speed and urgency.

It is a well-known scientific fact that plastic degrades into microplastics, which get ingested by wildlife, and they eventually enter our food system. We are poisoning ourselves.

There are alternatives. Throughout Europe, biodegradable materials are used in single-use situations. It is possible. I urge our Town Meeting members to vote in support of this article, and together let’s start to clean up our mess.

This letter was published Friday, April 22, 2022.

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