Bottled Water Ban In San Francisco Would Be One Of Nation's Strictest

SAN FRANCISCO - MARCH 2:  Recycled plastic bottles are seen at the San Francisco Recycling Center March 2, 2005 in San Franci
SAN FRANCISCO - MARCH 2: Recycled plastic bottles are seen at the San Francisco Recycling Center March 2, 2005 in San Francisco, California. Bottled water is the single largest growth area among all beverages, more than doubling over the last decade. Only about 12 percent of plastic bottles, mostly water, were recycled in 2003, according to industry consultant R.W. Beck, Inc. Since most bottled water is consumed away from home where recycling isn't an option, an estimated 40 million bottles a day go into the trash or become litter. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

San Francisco may implement one of the strictest bottled water bans in the country if the Board of Supervisors approves a proposal to ban its sale on public property.

The proposed legislation from Supervisor David Chiu would gradually phase in a ban on the sale of bottled water of 21 fluid ounces or less on all city properties with leases signed after 2014 and at concerts, large events, parks and food trucks.

“Given our access to incredibly healthy clean and tasty Hetch Hetchy water, which is some of the highest quality municipal tap water in the country, it just doesn’t make sense for us to have this addiction to plastic water bottles,” Chiu told the San Francisco Examiner. He plans to introduce the legislation next Tuesday.

The sales ban at events of 100 attendees or more on public property would be fully implemented in 2016, and the city would need to ensure there is access to an alternative potable water supply. To make the initiative feasible, the city will study how to better supply water at events and prioritize installation of water fountains and reusable bottle filling stations.

The organizers of the Outside Lands music festival in Golden Gate Park would not be required to implement the ban until 2016, though the event’s lack of access to non-bottled water was met with much criticism from the Ban the Bottle campaign.

“For the third year in a row, Outside Lands festival goers were extremely frustrated with the lack of access to refillable water at this San Francisco music festival,” the environmental group stated. “In a festival space that covers 11 city blocks and with 65,000+ attendees, getting to the mere three refill stations was not easy.”

The sales ban would build upon a city ordinance from 2007 that prohibits the use of city money to purchase bottled water, an initiative that cut $500,000 of annual city spending on a product environmentalists warn creates waste and uses excessive natural resources.

Business Insider estimates that bottled water production uses 17 million barrels of a oil per year and requires triple the amount of water to make a bottle as it does to fill it.

“We thought it’s important for the city to set our own example first to show that this can be done easily, well and in an environmentally conscious way,” Chiu said.

San Francisco’s ban would follow similar laws elsewhere. Concord, Mass. outlawed all sales of single-serving bottled water in the city in January.



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