The plastic bottle ban from the West Tisbury annual town meeting warrant, now voted in, may constitute the first such law of its type in the U.S., if not North America, according to the Vineyard Conservation Society (VCS) and the advocacy group Plastic Oceans International. While laws prohibiting plastic water bottles are extant, a law specifically prohibiting plastic soda and water bottles is not, VCS programs and membership coordinator Signe Benjamin told The Times.
“Disposable water bottles have already been banned in several cities and towns across the nation, including four in Massachusetts (Concord, Sudbury, Lincoln, and Great Barrington),” she emailed. “However, the bold kids of Plastic Free MV are aiming even higher: Their measure would be the first in the nation to also ban single-serving plastic bottles of soda. It’s a bold move, and an exciting accomplishment for the kids.”
The kids she referred to are a posse of fifth graders who have been promoting conservation techniques to diminish the use of plastics on the Vineyard.
Their proposal was approved unanimously at town meeting Tuesday in West Tisbury. It will be voted on in Chilmark April 22 and in Aquinnah May 14.
Tod Hardin, head of operations and communications at Plastic Oceans International, said members of his global team discussed the existence of similar legislation in the U.S. and Canada, and none came to mind.
“To our knowledge, it would become the first ban of its kind, which we fully support and applaud at every level,” he emailed ahead of the vote. “It would be a major positive step, and an example of a long-term solution that can serve as an inspirational model for other communities to follow.”
Upon learning of the bylaw approval, Hardin called it “amazing.”