Cape Codder, April 2022
Madhavi Venkatesan would disagree with the one-word whispered advice Dustin Hoffman’s character received at a party in the film “The Graduate.” “Plastics” is not the future. “Sometimes we make mistakes and this product is a mistake,” she said. “Recycling will not be a solution to this problem. Elimination will be. The products that we have in the market were not made for our betterment but made for somebody else’s profit.”
Venkatesan is president of Sustainable Practices, a group that successfully backed commercial plastic bottle bans of bottled water sales in 11 of 15 Cape towns over the last two years. The ban, passed last spring in Sandwich was rescinded at the Fall town meeting, both times by about 30 votes. In Mashpee, there is also a challenge on this year’s town meeting warrant to the bottle ban which passed by just two votes last spring. “I’ve talked with a lot of small business owners and as far as plastic bottles there isn’t anybody I know that can’t agree plastic disposal is wasteful,” noted Ambur Rutko, who filed the petition to overturn the ban. “We just think there is a better way; to recycle plastics versus having them go out in the trash. I think that a deposit, like they had on soda in the 80’s. That will clean up a lot of the litter because people will collect them. And there should be refill stations where people can refill their own.