Banning Single-Use Plastic Bottles

November 2, 2023

Last month, Massachusetts Governor Maura Healy announced that Massachusetts was going to ban the sale and distribution of single-use plastic water bottles under 21 ounces, being the first state to do so [1]. While many cities and municipalities have banned other types of single-use plastics like shopping bags and straws, this would be the first statewide ban on single-use plastic items [1]. This decision was made as the bottles ended up back in the environment, harming the ecosystems in Massachusetts [1]. While there had been other attempts at other plastic bans, this was the first one to be signed into law [2]. Single-use plastic pollution has been a problem for the state in the past, so it is not surprising to see the state pass a bill like this. While many cities and towns have bans on single-use plastic bags, there is no statewide ban yet, indicating that they are “behind” when it comes to reducing plastic pollution [2].

After this bill was passed, other states have considered following Massachusetts in banning agencies from purchasing single-use plastic bottles. New Jersey, which already has bans on plastic bags, food containers, and straws, could follow in the footsteps of Massachusetts and ban single-use plastic bottles [3]. Hawaii is another state that could be following Massachusetts as one of their state senators proposed a bill that would ban the retail sale of single-use plastic bottles under 2 liters (though bottled water for emergencies is exempt from this ban) [4]. Just like with Massachusetts, the goals of these are to reduce plastic pollution and protect the environment from plastic waste [4].

One thing to point out about this bill is what would be used to substitute for plastic bottles. One concern is the use of other materials that would cause the same issues such as ending up back in the environment and recyclability [4]. Substitutes for plastic bottles are often bottles made out of aluminum, glass, or paper, all of which are heavier to transport when compared to plastic creating much larger greenhouse gas emissions from travel along with higher shipping costs [4]. Plastics made from plants are also a popular alternative to regular plastic but aren’t recyclable [4]. Many of these single-use plastic bottles are made it PET, which is the most widely recycled plastic material, so making bottles out of bioplastics could end up being worse for the environment. While banning single-use plastic water bottles may create less plastic pollution, working on increasing recycling may be a more sustainable option in the long run when looking at the alternatives.

[1] Massachusetts to ban purchase of single-use plastic bottles by state agencies – ABC News (

[2] Mass. needs to get a grip on single-use plastic waste (

[3] Is a Plastic Bottle Ban Next for New Jersey? One Nearby State Just Did It (

[4] Small single-use plastic water bottles may soon be banned in Hawaii | Popular Science (

For 55 years, Placon has been a leading designer and manufacturer of custom and stock plastic packaging for the food, medical, and retail markets. Placon has manufacturing operations in Madison, WI; Elkhart, IN; Plymouth, MN; and West Springfield, MA, and currently ranked in Plastics News 2020 Thermoformers Ranking Top 20. Placon delivers packaging breakthroughs that inspire better engagement between people and products with industry leading innovation and award-winning packaging designs. For more information, visit