San Francisco Airport Bans Plastic Water Bottle Sales

It's all part of SFO's plan to be completely zero-waste by 2021.

In what officials believe to be an airport first, San Francisco International Airport (SFO) announced Friday that it’s banning the sale of plastic water bottles on its premises.

The move is part of the travel hub’s goal of becoming the world’s first zero-waste airport by 2021 and will go into effect on Aug. 20.

“We’re the first airport that we’re aware of to implement this change,” SFO spokesman Doug Yakel told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We’re on the leading edge for the industry, and we want to push the boundaries of sustainability initiatives.”

The ban addresses “one of the major sources of waste generated at the Airport,” SFO said in its announcement. Vendors will need to offer reusable bottle options, such as metal or glass containers, or single-use compostable cups for water.

The San Francisco airport has long encouraged passengers to bring their own reusable water bottles to the airport, and it made news in 2011 for installing water bottle refill stations in a newly renovated terminal. There are now nearly 100 of those stations throughout the airport, up from just 36 in 2016.

The airport’s ban comes a month after several plastic bans went into effect in San Francisco. As of July 1, restaurants may not provide plastic straws to customers, with exceptions made for some customers with disabilities. Plastic stirrers and toothpicks are also now banned, while single-use food items, such as napkins, packaged condiments and chopsticks, are to be made available only upon request.

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