Guess What Major U.S. City Has Banned Water Bottles From Being Sold In Public?

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Feeling thirsty? Well, if you’re in San Francisco you’ll have to find a drinking fountain then!

On Tuesday, San Francisco took one more step to greening their city, and became the first major city in the U.S. to ban the sale of plastic water bottles on public property.

According to the anti-plastic campaign, “Ban the Bottle”, Americans use 50 billion plastic water bottles a year, and just 23% of those are recycled.

ban plastic bottles

In SF, they go through 10 million to 15 million single-use plastic water bottles a year.

There’s hopes that the ban will help SF work towards their zero-waste by 2020 goal.

The proposal had been in the making for nine months by Board of Supervisors President David Chiu.

Chiu had a challenge in navigating several pressing issues, such as The City’s drinking-water infrastructure, the impacts the ban would have on events that often rely on revenue from the sale of bottled water and opposition from such companies as the American Beverage Association.

However, environmentalists continued to vehemently call for change and the legislation was passed by the Board of Supervisors 11-0 on Tuesday.

The ban, of course, won’t be in effect city-wide for some time.

Over the next four years, the ban will slowly phase out the sales of plastic water bottles (holding 21 ounces or less) on public property, indoor or outdoor.

This will impact park vendors, food truck operators and street fairs.

Photo via Kaitlin
Photo via Kaitlin

However, there are waivers applicable if an adequate alternative water source is not available nearby.

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu has said:

“It was not long ago that our world wasn’t addicted to plastic water bottles. It wasn’t until the 1990s that the now-$60 billion plastic-bottle water industry experienced an enormous growth based on massive marketing and distribution campaigns.”

The proposal was supported by the Think Outside the Bottle campaign, a nationwide effort that encourages restrictions of the “eco-unfriendly product.”

This isn’t the first ban of its like, with full prohibitions that have been passed in 14 national parks, a number of universities and Concord, Massachusetts.

According to Chiu,

“This is legislation that takes a much more targeted approach to reducing plastic-bottle waste”

The ban is to be taken very seriously, with violators of the ban facing up to $1,000 fine.

Joshua Arce, chairman of the Commission on the Environment, has said that the ban is “another step forward on our zero-waste goal.” And SF is working hard to get to its goal of no-waste by 2020, with a diversion rate of 80% as of this year.

Past efforts toward the goal have included banning plastic bags and plastic-foam containers.

The American Beverage Association, which includes Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo, have obviously spoken out against the ban saying that they ban is

“nothing more than a solution in search of a problem. This is a misguided attempt by city supervisors to decrease waste in a city of avid recyclers.”

Uhm… Ok.

  • Sarah Burke

    Sarah is a graduate of the University of College Dublin. After receiving her MA in Gender, Sexuality and Culture, she taught High-school English and History for three years before moving to Vancouver to pursue a career in writing. In her spare time, Sarah likes to write poetry, go to music festivals and drink wine. Her favorite food is the burrito. She is an avid reader of fantasy novels, an active participant in feminist circles, and will always have an adventure planned in the foreseeable future. Interesting fact: Sarah is fluent in Irish (Gaeilge).

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