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The Ban on Single-Use Plastics in the United States

400 million tons of plastic is produced each year across the globe. By now, we know that plastic is rarely ever recycled, meaning most of that plastic will end up in our oceans at some point. The U.S. has one of the highest plastic consumption rates in the world- sparking the question of “What can we do?”. While there are not currently any restrictions at the federal level, some states, cities, and businesses have taken it upon themselves to implement change where they can by banning single-use plastics in their organizations and communities. 

In September of 2023, Massachusetts became the first state to ban the purchase of single-use plastic bottles by state agencies. With reports estimating that this will eliminate around 100,000 plastic bottles each year, we hope that other states will follow this example in the coming months. While this is the first time we’ve seen a ban like this at the state level, this isn’t new for cities and local businesses- in 2016, San Francisco became the first city to ban the sale of plastic bottles, carrying fines of up to $1000.  Privately owned businesses and organizations have been making the switch from plastic to more sustainable alternatives for their consumers for years. 

One of the biggest contributors of plastic waste is the aviation industry, with the highest amounts coming from the airlines themselves. Thanks to pressure from their consumers, we’re starting seeing more airlines making the switch to plastic-free alternatives than ever, but there is still a lot of progress to be made. While the airlines are just starting to seek out more eco-friendly alternatives, some airports have already implemented bans against the sale of single-use plastics. In 2019, San Francisco International Airport stopped the sale of single-use plastics. LAX followed in June of 2023. It is believed that the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield Jackson International in Atlanta will be next as it has been reported that they are discussing this change and have already installed 50 water refill stations throughout the airport. 

We can see that bans against single-use plastics are not a matter of if, but when. As we look toward a more environmentally friendly future, we have to start considering how we’ll make these changes in our homes, businesses, and lives. One way is finding convenient alternatives to easily replace our dependency on plastic products. RAIN makes switching to aluminum bottled water seamless. Our bottles are easy to drink from, don’t get soggy or mushy, and contain 0% plastic. Made from up to 100% recyclable materials, our bottles are infinitely recyclable and actually recycled 4x more than plastic.