Plastic Water Bottle Ban in GB Gets the Green Light
Great Barrington — Few thought it would be a historic night at the annual town meeting Monday night (May 7) in the Monument Mountain Regional High School auditorium. But it was.
The Berkshire Edge reports at about 9:45 p.m., Great Barrington became only the third municipality in the country — all three in Massachusetts — to ban the sale of single-use plastic water bottles of one liter in size or less. There was no secret ballot for the water bottle ban; Town Moderator Michael Wise called for a show of hands that indicated the measure had passed by a margin of roughly 2-1. The ban will take effect in May of 2019.
The proposal was crafted and marketed by the environment committee of the Berkshire Women’s Action Group and Indivisible Berkshires. Three Monument Mountain Regional High School students who worked with BWAG on the proposal made an impassioned presentation supporting the measure, followed by several citizens.
They pointed to an array of research and data indicating the environmental issues associated with plastic in general and the single-use water bottles in particular because of the chronic infiltration of microplastic debris into the food chain. Great Barrington Republican Town Committee Chairman Andy Moro was the only person to speak against it, arguing that it would hurt merchants and retailers. Railroad Street resident Steve Farina was prepared to speak against it but a call to vote on the measure effectively squeezed him out.
But at least 40 businesses and organizations had signed off on the plastic water bottle ban. There were some high-profile businesses on the list, including Guido’s, Prairie Whale and Soco. Most recently the Berkshire Co-op Market came on board.
Concord and Sudbury are the other two towns to have enacted similar bans: Concord in 2012 and Sudbury only last year.