At the May 3, 2021, Sandwich Town Meeting, voters approved an article to ban the commercial sale of single-use plastic water bottles. This was a big step for the environmental and human health issues relating to these products.

The commercial single-use plastic water bottle ban will take effect December 31, 2021, in Sandwich, Dennis and Chatham, joining seven other towns (Brewster, Eastham, Falmouth, Harwich, Orleans, Provincetown and Wellfleet) where it has been in effect since September of this year.

According to local media, newspapers, and local businesses, this has been a smooth transition with residents and tourists alike adjusting to bringing their own reusables or finding more environmentally friendly options.

Recently, a group of citizens in Sandwich has decided that the bylaw presents an inconvenience to them and have brought forth a new citizen’s petition to rescind the ban. They have all kinds of excuses as to why this should not happen in Sandwich, but of course no solution to the single-use plastic problem here on Cape Cod or worldwide.

Eliminating single-use plastic makes sense and is an action we can take to be responsible as a community. The information on the multiple issues and emerging risks surrounding this product are readily available. A number of environmentally minded Sandwich businesses like Café Chew have already transitioned to either aluminum cans or plant-based boxes. Others, like Seafood Sam’s and Shipwreck Ice Cream, have never sold water in plastic bottles.

The reality is human convenience is an expense the environment cannot afford.

Estimates are that plastic will overtake the greenhouse gas footprint of coal in the next 20 years. On top of this the chemical leachate from plastic is a human health hazard, directly tied to endocrine, fertility, autoimmune, and cardiovascular diseases as well as obesity and ADHD.

Why eliminate plastic water bottles is a common question asked. Plastic water bottles make up 60 percent of the bottle beverage market. This ban represents a significant first step and one for which there are alternatives.

Please attend the Sandwich Town Meeting on Monday, November 15, at 7 PM at Sandwich High School and vote NO on Article 8. A NO vote on this article is a YES vote for the environment. Sandwich cannot afford to go backwards on this issue. Show that we care about our town and Cape Cod by doing our part to protect our portion of the planet.

Mary T. Cote

Manamok Circle


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