Plastic water bottles are public enemy number one in some two dozen Massachusetts communities.

Hingham is among the latest communities to enact a bylaw banning the sale of non-carbonated, single-use, unflavored drinking water bottles of less than one gallon.

Hingham's bylaw took effect on January 1, 2024, and violations can result in hefty fines. There are no restrictions on residents' personal use of these products within the town.

Whew! I was getting worried.

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Hingham's website says, "Since 2010, yearly water bottle consumption in the United States has grown by 40%."

The town says, "The best alternative is a refillable water bottle, and water is easily accessible, safe, and available through hydration stations, bubblers, and the tap."

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Violators of the bylaw receive a written warning for a first offense, a $100 fine for a second, $200 for a third, and $300 for a fourth and subsequent violations.

Twenty-four other Massachusetts communities have similar bylaws, including 15 communities on Cape Cod and all of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

It doesn't stop there. On September 23, 2023, Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey signed Executive Order No. 619 (EO619): Eliminating the Purchase by the Executive Department of Single-Use Plastic Bottles.

According to, Healey proclaimed, "Single-use plastics are among the biggest threats to our environment, our climate goals, and public health."

Healey says the plastic bottles "are made from fossil fuels, they produce and emit greenhouse gases, and, as waste, we know the damage they do to our streams and waterways and the harm they cause to our oceans."

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