San Francisco Bans Sale of plastic water bottles on City Property
San Francisco’s elected officials are leading an important national environmental policy phase of the Refill Revolution with a recent action to ban disposable plastic water bottles on city property.
On March 4, the city’s Board of Supervisors approved the disposable bottle ban measure unanimously. The ordinance bars the city from buying plastic water bottles and bans distribution of single-use bottles smaller than 21 ounces, starting on Oct. 1, 2014.
“We all know with climate change, and the importance of combatting climate change, San Francisco has been leading the way to fight for our environment,” ordinance author and Supervisor David Chiu said. “That’s why I ask you to support this ordinance to reduce and discourage single-use, single-serving plastic water bottles in San Francisco.”
Chiu held up a water bottle at the board meeting, a quarter of the way full with oil, to illustrate how much oil is used in the production and transport of plastic water bottles. He also reminded San Franciscans that the current fad of buying bottled water only started in the 1990s when the bottled water industry mounted a huge ad campaign that got Americans buying bottled water.
Americans use 50 billion plastic water bottles a year, according to an anti-plastic bottle campaign Ban the Bottle, and just 23% of those are recycled.
Ban violators found selling plastic water bottles 21 oz or below on city grounds after October 2014 would be subject to a fine up to $1000. San Francisco isn’t the first to enact bans aimed at reducing plastic consumption — many more are looking at spreading this refill revolution. Grand Canyon National Park has banned the sale of plastic bottles, as does Concord, Massachusetts.
The ordinance exempts marathons and sporting events and gives food trucks and large nonprofits until 2018 to comply with the new ordinance.