As a member of Sustainable Practices, I would like to explain why I am in favor or the Municipal Plastic Bottle Ban across Cape Cod.
As we are all aware, we are a coastal community. We need to be very watchful of how we live, and how the consumption and waste choices we make affect our environment. Plastic is a convenience that is having a negative effect on our lives, health, and environment. Plastic is a petroleum-based product; it has a significant greenhouse gas footprint and estimates are that plastic production and recycling will account for up to 17 percent of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Recycling is not a solution; recycled plastic loses its strength; either new plastic is needed to bond with it or it is used in other products like carpet, clothing and building materials. In net recycling exacerbates the plastic issue. We are drowning in plastic. It is everywhere. Evidence suggests that plastic leaches chemicals into food and water, while emissions from production and recycling facilities are associated with other health impacts.
Plastic has become a health issue as well as a human rights issue. At the present time, we have no national policy with respect to limiting single-use plastic, though a growing global awareness has established bans in the EU and many other countries. We have to act locally.
Banning single-use bottles on a municipal level is a good place to start. The purpose of government is to protect the public welfare, which is why we, Sustainable Practices, are calling on local governments to support the Municipal Plastic Bottle Ban. Plastic bottles are made from nonrenewable fuels, leach chemicals into consumables and never biodegrade. Every piece of plastic ever made still exists.
The Municipal Plastic Bottle Ban passed in five towns as of the conclusion of spring Town Meetings on the Cape. In the fall Sustainable Practices will be petitioning more towns to accept the Municipal Plastic Bottle Ban bylaw. We want all towns to realize the importance of this action, participate and adopt the regulation. We may be separate towns, but we make up one Cape Cod.
We are working with the towns in many ways to make this change possible. One of our main goals is to put more water-filling stations in towns as a way increasing access to municipal drinking water as an alternative to single-use plastic bottled water. We are working with board of health fepartments, water departments, recycling committees, chambers of commerce, DPW departments, and selectboards across the Cape. We are working for all of you to give our communities the opportunity to vote on taking a stand against the continued use of single-use plastics.
With the exit of China from the global recycling market, the Town of Sandwich is now paying to have our plastic recycling taken away, rather than being able to sell it for a profit. The cost now incurred by the Town of Sandwich for this convenience will be paid by all of us in increased taxes and by the health of the environment and its residents with increased landfill and incineration of the material. Fifteen-hundred plastic bottles are discarded every second in the US. About 38 billion water bottles wind up in landfills every year.
As a citizen, woman, mother, and grandmother, I feel this is the least I can do to bring about awareness of the greatness of this problem, so that my grandchildren may still enjoy this great planet.
Please vote yes on the Municipal Plastic Bottle Ban in our town; it is the right thing to do.
Human convenience is an expense the environment cannot afford.