South Hadley will trade its residents' used plastic water bottles for aluminum ones in a campaign to promote recycling and the drinking of tap water.
During the promotion, families can bring a plastic water bottle to one of the local water departments and exchange it for an aluminum bottle.
The town's two water districts combined with local officials and waste collector Interstate Waste Services Inc. came up with the plan to purchase 360 aluminum bottles. The bottles cost $2,100.
``It's a one-time promotion. We're going to kick it off and we're looking for the [Parent Teacher Association] or the Recreation Department to carry it forward,'' said Jeffrey Cyr, Fire District 1 water superintendent.
People were filtering into the local water departments the week of June 30 as they received word of the promotion. Early July 2, Cyr said they had already handed out 150 bottles.
``Our main goal from the water department is to get them to drink our water more,'' Cyr said.
South Hadley is a community of about 17,000 people. Its water is supplied by Quabbin Reservoir and a well under the Connecticut River.
Town health director Sharon Hart came up with the exchange idea after seeing an article about a similar program in Florida in the magazine On Tap.
She discussed it with various town departments, receiving support and funds.
Officials have dubbed the effort, ``Think Globally Drink Locally.''
The aluminum bottles with plastic stoppers were designed with a tiger paw print, the same as the mascot of South Hadley High School. Fliers promoting tap water also were included with them.
``We want people to use them not buy the plastic bottles,'' said Hart.
She said the rules governing the public water supply are much stricter than those governing water bottlers.
Hart also pointed out a need for recycling, noting the town has held a medical product recycling drive as well as a mercury thermometer turn-in.
``I'd like to get all the plastic bottles recycled,'' said Veronique Blanchard, the town's recycling coordinator. She said South Hadley banned plastic bottles from its landfill in 1994.
Every step helps, she said.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection reported that South Hadley's overall recycling rate was 40 percent for 2006, down from 49 percent the year before.