San Francisco airport bans sale of plastic water bottles

San Francisco International Airport, one of the largest and busiest airports in the world, took a big step to fight the plastics crisis this week by officially banning the sale of plastic water bottles.

Some of the biggest producers of plastic waste and carbon emissions are airports as tens of thousands of people throw away plastic of some kind after purchasing it from vendors on site.

An airport in the United Kingdom recently decided to offer reusable cups to customers to cut back on single-use plastic cups and bottles.

And now San Francisco is also getting on board with the anti-plastic revolution by banning the sale of plastic water bottles.

“Airport tenants, vendors, and permittees may not provide or sell bottled water in containers that contain plastic or aseptic paper packaging, including in vending machines,” the airport announced in a statement. “Reusable water bottles, recyclable aluminum, glass and certified compostable water bottles can instead be provided or sold. Bottled water is defined as drinking water in a sealed box, bag, can, bottle, or other container intended primarily for single-service use and having a capacity of one liter or less. Drinking water includes purified water, mineral water, carbonated or sparkling water, and electrolyte-enhanced water.”

In fact, San Francisco went even further by requiring vendors to only provide customers certain items by request such as chopsticks, condiment packets and saucers, cup sleeves, lids, napkins, utensils, spill sticks, stirrers and sticks and straws.

And they must use reusable or compostable utensils and accessories.

This new standard requires tenants to use reusable or BPI certified-compostable food service ware and accessories, which can be recovered and composted in domestic markets. In addition to reducing the impacts on the natural environment, this transition will make food service ware safer for use and simplify and improve the passenger dining experience.

It’s a pretty big deal.

“This is a big move for the airport,” San Francisco International Airport public information officer Doug Yakel said in a statement. “It just further supports our green initiative. We waited until now because a few years back there was really no market in place to provide an alternative to water in a plastic bottle.”

Yakel also says the airport is aiming to force the bottled water industry to stop using unrecyclable plastic.

“We’re hoping that as the demand from retailers increases, there’s an increasing supply of water that’s bottled in something recyclable,” he said. “We’re hoping to drive that industry as well.”

Other airports may follow San Francisco as well, especially since making the switch will likely save money. It’s a way for airports to save money and the environment at the same time.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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