San Francisco airport bans sale of plastic water bottles

The first rule of its kind at a major American airport aims to cut single-use plastics

Travelling from San Francisco airport might leave you thirsty. Effective from Tuesday, 20 August, the airport has banned the sale of plastic water bottles. 

As the first measure of this kind at a major American airport, the ban rules out plastic bottles for purified water, mineral water, carbonated or sparkling water, and electrolyte-enhanced water. However, it doesn’t affect flavoured beverages such as sodas, teas, or juices. 

 

The new rule applies to cafés, restaurants, and vending machines in the airport. To get basic water, passengers will have to take their own refillable bottle or buy one at the airport. 

To fill their bottles, passengers can use one of more than 100 wall-mounted filtered water dispensers. However, their refillable bottle needs to be empty during the security check. 

The main aim of this measure is to reduce the use of single-use plastics. According to the airport, more than 10,000 plastic water bottles were sold every day generating generated nearly 13 million kg of waste each year. The plan is also part of an effort to become the world’s first zero-waste airport by 2021.

SFO continues to lead the way in airport sustainability initiatives,” said airport director Ivar C. Satero.

“With this move, we take a giant step towards our goal to achieve zero waste going into landfill.”

To fill their bottles, passengers can use one of more than 100 wall-mounted filtered water dispensers — Michael Vi / Shutterstock San Francisco airport bans sale of plastic water bottles
To fill their bottles, passengers can use one of more than 100 wall-mounted filtered water dispensers — Michael Vi / Shutterstock
 

Some passengers appeared to welcome this new system. “If you know about it, it’s great,” traveller Chris McCloud told CBSNews.

“If you don’t know about it, it’s going to be inconvenient. But it’s headed in the right direction, I think.” 

The single-use plastics hunt continues

Getting rid of single-use plastic materials has become a trend adopted by various players in the travel industry. The pioneer of this action is Alaska Airlines that made more sustainable travel its priority in May last year. 

The move was followed by Air New Zealand, Qantas, and American Airlines which underlines how focused the travel operators are at this issue. 

Similarly, the Italian island of Isole Tremiti banned the use of plastic plates, cups and other utensils under a possible fine of up to $600. 

Recently, the Goa Tourism Development Corporation — a public limited company responsible for tourism in Goa, India — has announced a ban to all single-use plastics in their hotels