Posted by Rick Civelli | 02.08.2013 | Conservation

Join the Revolution

While geographically distinct, Sea Turtle Camp; the University of Vermont; and Concord, Massachusetts have something in common – a conservation philosophy. All three locations have banned the sale or consumption of single-use plastic bottles in their area.


Last summer, Sea Turtle Camp turned down a generous offer of free bottled water, in favor of keeping to our mission. The University of Vermont recently cut ties with the Coca-Cola Bottling Company opting to install refillable water stations on their campus, making it the largest public institution to do so. UVM now joins a list of 22 other colleges and universities to have made the plastic prohibition pledge. And a revolution is also underway in Massachusetts as the community of Concord put in a by-law this year outlawing the sale of “unflavored drinking water in single-serving polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles of 1 liter (34 ounces) or less.”

With US consumption of single use plastics ever on the rise, communities and conservationists are looking for better ways to address plastic problem. While recycling is always encouraged, the reality is that on about 28% of plastics are actually recycled. This stems from the fact that not all areas have developed recycling programs, and those that do can only handle a few of the different types of plastics.

Flip over your beverage or food container and there is the ever familiar recycling symbol stamped on the bottom. Accompanying that symbol is also a number indicating the composition of the plastic images(and therefore its readiness to being recycled). The most common type is #1 or Polyethylene Terephthalate, which comprises the majority of our drinking bottles. This is also the most easy to recycle. However, the plastic cap affixed to the top is not made of the same material. Most caps are #5, or polypropylene, a more stubborn plastic not as frequently recycled. Unwanted numbers, usually the higher ones, are pulled out of the pile before the recycling process even begins – and end up in the landfill with many of their plastic brethren.


The holes that still presently exist in the recycling process require us to pay attention to the other components of the conservation triangle – reduce and reuse, which is what UVM and Concord are attempting to do. Please work with your community to see ways in which you can get involved, and hopefully a revolution of another sort will have begun in Concord.