San Francisco Airport bans plastic water bottles

New strategy aims to reduce Airport's largest waste item

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has called time on plastic water bottles, announcing an airport wide ban on the containers, effective 20 August 2019. The move is part of the Californian airport’s Zero Waste Concessions Program which was adopted this year to address major sources of waste at the airport.

Under the initiative, all shops, eateries, airline lounges and vending machines within San Francisco International Airport will no longer be permitted to provide or sell bottled water that is intended primarily for single-service use and is one litre or less in volume. Vendors are still allowed to sell or offer pre-filled water in cans or bottles, glass bottles, compostable cartons and flavoured waters.

Travellers are being urged to bring their own refillable bottle, with nearly 100 hydration stations and drinking fountains located in all terminals to expand access and encourage people to refill their reusable/refillable bottles.

Visitors are also still able to bring plastic water bottles into the airport and pass through security with empty bottles, refilling them at hydration stations once cleared through the checkpoint.

SFO’s Zero Waste Concessions Program also extends to take-away food containers, with all prepared food and beverages required to be reusable or BPI-certified compostable (cups, containers, cutlery, etc). Plastic items such as straws, lids, cutlery and stirring sticks will only be supplied by request.

“This initiative supports the City and County of San Francisco’s Plastic, Litter, and Toxics Reduction Law and is a part of an effort to address plastic pollution and the recent collapse of the plastic recycling market. 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,” the airport said.

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