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SFO’s Plastic Water Bottle Ban

by John Wroblewski

Sep 21, 2019

© Philipmorch | Dreamstime.com

San Francisco International Airport just introduced a new policy that bans single-use plastic water bottles, another step toward SFO’s goal of zero waste going to landfills by 2021.

ID 126871330 © Philipmorch | Dreamstime.com

On Aug. 20 the airport became the first in the country to ban single-use plastic water containers, including sealed boxes, bags, cans, bottles and other receptacles of less than one-liter capacity. These items are no longer sold anywhere in the airport. Single-use bottled water is still available throughout the airport, but will now only be in recyclable packaging.

Travelers can also fill their own containers at any of the hydration stations in the airport. SFO started installing filtered water dispensers in 2011. Currently there are more than 100, with plans to install more.

The ban extends to all forms of unflavored water including purified, mineral, vitamin, sparkling, electrolyte and others. Flavored drinks, teas, sodas, juices and others are not affected. The ban also does not apply to beverages served on board planes.

SFO spokesman Doug Yakel expects this to be just the initial phase of what will become a much broader ban. SFO already requested all vendors switch to recyclable products for containers, utensils and all other single-use foodware.

Reports show less than 25 percent of plastic bottles get recycled. Furthermore, airline passengers account for approximately 28 million pounds of waste annually.

SFO took the lead on this, and other airports will follow. Vendors will start producing more products in recyclable packaging. Things won’t change overnight, but they are headed in a more environmentally friendly direction.

— John Wroblewski, online writer


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