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Do Plastic Bans Work?

on December 16, 2021

One million plastic bottles are used every minute. Plastic bags are used for an average of 12 minutes before they're discarded forever. What can we do about it?

plastic bottles floating

 

There’s a lot of talk of plastic bans, from plastic bags to utensils to bottles. Concord, MA was the first town in the country to enact a bottle ban back in 2013, and lots of municipalities have followed in their footsteps:

These bans are put into place in an effort to cut down on the immense amount of single-use plastic waste we go through. Bags, bottles, and food packaging make up the vast majority of this pollution, which infiltrates our ecosystems and finds its way into our food, water, and air. It’s also a burden to our non-human cohabitants like fish, turtles, crustaceans, and sea birds.


"SINGLE USE BAGS, PLASTIC BOTTLES, FOOD CONTAINERS, AND FOOD WRAPPERS ACCOUNT FOR HALF OF ALL LITTER IN OCEANS AND SEA-BOUND RIVERS."

It’s easy to see, then, why an increasing amount of legislation is being proposed and passed in an effort to completely eliminate many sources of this waste stream.

Most of these policy changes have been implemented fairly recently, however, it’s clear they can have an immediate positive effect in cutting down on plastic consumption.

Experts say that the key to reducing plastic pollution is curbing consumption—and these bans do just that. Because plastics are not efficiently re-processed and new plastic material is continuously needed to make new bottles, recycling is not a solution here (this is less of a concern for infinitely recyclable materials like aluminum and glass). That's why the most sustainable choice for staying hydrated is to drink from the tap.

Learn more about a proposed federal plastics ban here.

For times tap water is not an available option, Open Water offers a more recyclable, Climate Neutral certified option for packaged water on the go.

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