From the Town of Great Barrington

Town officials have reviewed and approved an outreach and education plan in support of the town's ban on the sale of single-use plastic water bottle sales, which went into effect on Jan. 1.

Voters at the 2018 Annual Town Meeting town set May 1, 2019 as the date when the town would begin issuing tickets to any merchants not in compliance with the new bylaw. However, due to several logistical issues and ongoing private fundraising for public water stations throughout town, the Selectboard will delay issuing tickets until May 1, 2020. This date is subject to change.

"As with our earlier ban on stores' use of plastic bags, we will collaborate with with merchants, community members and environmental advocates to answer questions and to re-emphasize the environmental objectives of this ban," said Town Manager Jennifer Tabakin. "Our goal is a successful partnership in which we do our local part to address a global problem of non-recyclable plastic waste."

Additional work remains to fully implement the bottle ban:

*A properly filtered public water station in Housatonic village, where water quality has been an issue for some customers of the private Housatonic Water Co.;

*Completion of private fundraising and installation of water stations at several other downtown locations;

*The Selectboard is seeking more information regarding the long-term costs of maintenance of public water filling stations.

“We are fully committed to an orderly implementation of the bottle-ban bylaw that was affirmed by two town meetings in 2018,” said Selectboard Chair Stephen Bannon, following Monday’s Selecboard meeting. “We appreciate the cooperation and participation of merchants who have already shift away from single-use plastic water bottle sales.”

The ban applies to single-use plastic water bottles of one liter or smaller.