Single-use water bottle ban should be repealed

While I understand there will be people to whom the facts will not matter, and they are going to support this ban no matter what, I can’t change that.

To the editor:

Recently, a small contingent of Berkshire Women’s Action Group Environment Committee members descended on a Great Barrington Selectboard meeting. Each took a turn to speak. They expressed concerned that the Selectboard wasn’t properly informing the public (specifically businesses) about the effective date of the water bottle ban and were equally concerned about the enforcement date. As you can see from their website this morning, they can’t even get the date right (along with much of the other info on their site — including the falsehood that they proposed the ban twice and the mistaken date of the ATM).

As the 2019 ATM draws near, I will provide additional facts and examples of the clever marketing used to persuade the voters of Great Barrington to ban 1L, and less, PET water bottles. I will also provide factual reasons why it should be repealed (Article 28 of the soon to be issued 2019 ATM Warrant).

While I understand there will be people to whom the facts will not matter, and they are going to support this ban no matter what, I can’t change that. This information is for those who are open-minded enough to see there has been deception and clever marketing utilized to proffer this ban.

Here is a small example. The claim made at Town Meeting was that the year after the Concord ban took effect there was a reduction in commingled recycling of 23 tons. It was stated at the meeting that they (BWAG EC) estimate this to indicate a 40,000 PET plastic water bottle reduction. The graph below shows the State of Massachusetts data for solid waste and recycling, found on mass.gov.

The ban in Concord took effect on Jan 1, 2013. As can be seen from the graph, the number of Concord households served decreased from 2013 to 2014 while the amount of commingled recycling increased by 6 tons — using the BWAG EC numbers, this would represent an increase of about 10,000 PET plastic bottles used by a decreasing number of people in the year following the effective date of the ban.

What was going on in years before and years after is anybody’s guess. In fact, this point they emphatically shared is really useless information. The content of commingled recycling varies from day to day, and year to year, by the content which is unknown. One year may have a high glass and metal content, another lower. This data is useless in making a case for (or against) the ban yet is a prominent feature of the BWAG EC argument in support of it. Clever marketing though.

Steve Farina

Great Barrington