MV Tap Map Vineyard Conservation Guide – Following its successful and continued campaign to ban plastic bags, Vineyard Conservation Society has created its “Take Back the Tap” campaign.
After plastic bags, bottled water is the next biggest source of single use plastic, and we know that these are a big problem for our environment. Just look along the roads as you drive to work or home today or simply go for walk in you neighborhood, chances are you’ll find a number of these bottles scatter around.
Take Back the Tap, funded by an anonymous donor, is enabling VCS to create water bottle filling stations all over the Island. These stations allow people to use their refillable water containers and not have a need for bottled water. There are so many places, and the number keeps growing! Unfortunately, this is going to be a hard habit to break for many people.
From the VCS website: “Unlike plastic bags, though, much of the public today has a sincere preference for bottled water. The realization that we must decrease the demand for bottled water is the conceptual underpinning of the “Take Back the Tap” initiative. Our research revealed that the factors motivating people to buy bottled water generally fit into two categories: quality and convenience. To address concerns over the taste or cleanliness of tap water, we began educational efforts (such as the “Tap Water Challenge” during Zero Waste Week at Tisbury School). However, it is the second issue — convenience — that may pose the greater challenge. Life moves quickly, even on Martha’s Vineyard, and to keep pace, we have grown to rely on a degree of convenience unimaginable a century ago”.
An interesting fact about tap versus bottled water – tap water has to be monitored and has strict purification requirements whereas bottled water does not. So, when people Take Back the Tap, they tend to find that their water is quite delicious, and they get to save money! If you’re really against tap water, there are a number of water filters on the market that can help you break the plastic water bottle habit.
Regarding convenience, it only takes a little more effort to reduce if not eliminate plastic water bottles from your life. If you leave the house with your refillable water bottle, you can fill it all throughout the day. Whether you are using water filling stations found on the the TAP MAP or refilling at your home or office, or even when you go out for coffee or a bite to eat.
Think about Rosewater Market’s solution to plastic water bottles. It’s accessible and well designed, and not only can you get water, but bubbly water is an option as well.
The refill stations that VCS provide help with quality and accessibility. It’s quicker to refill your own bottle and the stations provide chilled, filter water that’s free. It’s pretty awesome!
Because of an anonymous donor, you can find refill stations in all of the schools, the Boys & Girls Club, the MV Ice Arena, Edgartown & West Tisbury Town Hall, the Oak Bluffs & the West Tisbury Library, the Ag Hall, just to name a few. There are a number of others in the works too including other libraries, the VTA stop on Church Street, Ocean Park, Nancy’s Restaurant, and Post Office Square in Oak Bluffs.
Also, a number of local businesses and organizations have taken it upon themselves to install their own refill station, recognizing the need to offer plastic free water. Such progressive places include the YMCA (take a look at how many plastic bottles have been prevented with this refill station next time – it’s mind blowing), the hospital (pictured below), the airport, Felix Neck, and the Tribal Community Center.
There are so many more places that would be great options like the Island’s parks. Imagine how great it would be to have a refill station at the Menemsha restrooms or the Viera Park or at the Cliffs? Did you know that you or your business can sponsor a refill station? Contact Vineyard Conservation Society if you’re interested, click here. Also, they really need help securing plumbers to help install the refill stations. There are several just waiting to be installed. If you know any angel plumbers, VCS would be grateful for your help!
With every refill station installed, the number of plastic bottles grows smaller, and this has a BIG impact on our environment. It’s a simple way to help reduce plastic, and once you get in the habit of using refillable containers, it becomes pretty effortless.
With TAP MAP, “the goal is to create a highly visible network that will immediately decrease the need for bottled water, while over the long haul demonstrating to residents and visitors alike that we are very fortunate to have excellent drinking water on our Island — so we should be using it”.
Vineyard Conservation has done the research for us. When I met with Signe Benjamin from VCS, she provided me with a wealth of information that supports the need to change the way we think about plastic water bottles.
- The US is the largest bottled water consumer in the world, using 50 billion bottles per year. Only a small portion of these bottles get recycled; the great majority end up in landfills, incinerators, or as litter in our environment.
- Plastic is a serious threat to our vital marine environment. A recent study found that plastic trash is entering the ocean at the rate of over 8 million tons a year; this amount is expected to increase tenfold over the next decade. On the list of items collected in worldwide beach cleanup efforts, plastic bottles are second only to cigarette butts.
Health & Purity
- Bottled water is no healthier than tap water, despite aggressive marketing intended to make us believe the opposite.
- Martha’s Vineyard is fortunate to have high quality drinking water.
- Unlike municipal tap water, which has rigorous testing requirements, bottled water has no rules about testing for biological, chemical, or radioactive contaminants.
- Over time, plastics break down into smaller and smaller pieces. Alarmingly, we are finding that these particles migrate into our food and drinking water at increasing rates.
- Almost 50% of bottled water is just reprocessed tap water – at 2,000 times the cost and energy use.
- For the price of one bottle of designer water you can fill up a glass with an equivalent amount of tap water once a day every day – for 13 years!
So, grab your refillable water bottle and break the habit! It’s easier then you think. Click here for the live Tap Map.
Vineyard Conservation Society’s mission is to be the voice of environmental advocacy on Martha’s Vineyard and you can learn more about their efforts on Facebook. Don’t forget to like Point B Realty on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Youtube and Instagram.
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