Among the more noteworthy new laws that went into effect on Jan. 1, one from Concord, Mass., stands out.
Concord, a town of fewer than 20,000 people not far from Boston, has become the first in the United States to ban the sale of bottled water.
The law, an effort to reduce waste and move toward environmentally friendly practices, prohibits the sale of water bottles smaller than one liter.
Sparkling water and sodas are exempted from the ban, and there are further exemptions for emergencies.
According to the New York Times, the measure was dreamed up by 84-year-old Jean Hill, and it was passed by voters in 2010, but took three years to go into effect. First offenders will get a warning; a second strike comes with a $25 fine and each subsequent infraction a $50 fine.
Some residents say the ban is pointless--that determined water drinkers can hop over to neighboring towns for their plastic fix. A citizens' group plans to ask voters to repeal the ban at a town meeting in April.
According to National Geographic, Americans purchase 29 million bottles of water ever year. About 2 million tons of water bottles ends up in landfills each year, and the productions of the bottles requires 17 million barrels of crude oil annually--enough to power a million vehicles for a year.