Single use plastic bags are already prohibited from being handed out in Great Barrington, as they are elsewhere around the Berkshires.  At Town Meeting coming up on May 7, voters will decide if small plastic water bottles are next.

The Environment Committee of the Berkshire Women's Action Group has placed an article on the warrant which would ban sales of water bottles which are one liter, or 34 ounces, and smaller.  It would also call for installing water refilling stations around town. If passed, the measure would take effect as of January 1, 2019. There would be an exemption in case something should go wrong with the town's water.

Marcia Arland, one of the group's five members, recently told the Berkshire Eagle, "It takes water and oil to make the plastic. It takes oil to transport (the bottles), and most of the plastic isn't being recycled" and may take hundreds of years to decompose.

Jennifer Clark said the group is taking retailers into consideration and wants to include them in deciding where the water refilling stations would be located. As to who would foot the bill for these stations, Clark said the group is already working with town officials on ideas involving public and private money, or possibly corporate funding.

The idea is modeled after a 1st in the nation program in Concord, Mass, where some stores carry one liter boxes of water instead of bottles.  Whether that becomes Great Barrington's fate will be up to the people in May.

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