The Cape Plastic Bottle Ban is an educational and citizen advocacy initiative focused on raising awareness of the environmental and human impact of single-use plastic bottle consumption. In 2019, we initiated the Municipal Plastic Bottle Ban, which focused on eliminating non-emergency single-use plastic bottle purchase by town governments and sale of beverages in single-use plastic containers on town property across all towns in Barnstable County, Cape Cod. As of year-end 2020, the Municipal Plastic Bottle Ban was adopted by 13 of the 15 towns that comprise Barnstable County. In 2020, we initiated the Commercial Single-use Plastic Water Bottle Ban. The Commercial Ban eliminates the sale of non-carbonated, non-flavored water in single-use plastic bottles of less than 1 gallon in size within the jurisdictional area of a town. Due to COVID-19, efforts in some towns were postponed. In spite of the challenge, seven towns adopted the Commercial Ban at Fall Town Meeting: Brewster, Eastham, Falmouth, Harwich, Orleans, Provincetown, and Wellfleet, by vote.
As of June 26, 2021, Bourne and Truro joined 13 other Cape towns and adopted the Municipal Plastic Bottle Ban; making a total of 15 of 15 towns with a Municipal policy in place. Chatham, Dennis, and Sandwich adopted the Commercial Single-use Plastic Water Bottle Ban; ending the spring Town Meeting season with 10 of 15 towns with the Commercial Single-use Plastic Water Bottle Ban to be in effect in 2021. At the October 18 Mashpee Town Meeting, Mashpee citizens adopted the Commercial Single-use Plastic Water Bottle Ban, taking the total number of Cape adoptions to 11.
In spring 2022 3 towns rescinded the Commercial Ban: Dennis, Mashpee, and Sandwich. The remaining 8 towns have actively enforced the Ban and these have been in effect for 1 year.
Single-use plastic bottles are made from non-renewable fuels, leach chemicals into consumables, and never biodegrade. Single-use plastic bottles impact environmental health, and the health and longevity of other species, who may ingest plastic as food. Ultimately, plastic re-enters the human food chain where the adverse consequences are both known and emerging.
Like plastic production, recycling single-use plastic affects environmental and human health through emissions. Additionally, recycling single-use plastic is not a closed-loop process and does not reduce the need to create virgin plastic for use in the production of single-use plastic water bottles. Indeed, recycled plastic increases the presence of plastic in our environment through plastic downcycling, a production term that references the use of recycled plastic in other products from fabric to building materials.
Over 1,500 single-use plastic water bottles are used and discarded in the U.S. per second. Elimination of the use of single-use plastic water bottles will have a significant impact on future plastic-based pollution including the nation’s greenhouse gas footprint and is consistent with protection of the natural environment in Barnstable County, our nation and our earth, which we have a common responsibility to protect and steward.
The Commercial Single-use Plastic Water Bottle Ban ( Commercial Ban) is a citizen action effort to reduce plastic consumption. The Commercial Ban will eliminate the commercial sale of non-carbonated, unflavored water in single-use plastic water bottles. As of July 2022, the Commercial Ban is in effect in eight towns: Brewster, Chatham, Eastham, Falmouth, Harwich, Orleans, Provincetown, and Wellfleet. Sustainable Practices will support the adoption of the Commercial Ban in the remaining Cape towns as part of its overall sustainability strategy.
Recent news coverage highlighting our Cape activities can be found on Our News page.
The Commercial Single-use Plastic Bottle Ban has been endorsed by the Massachusetts Sierra Club.
We are a volunteer led and staffed organization. All financial donations to Sustainable Practices are used in their entirety to support the organization's focus on raising awareness and promoting civic action to improve human and environmental health. We are committed to fostering stewardship to enable sustainability.
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