San Francisco Airport's Plastic Water Bottle Ban Takes Effect

The ban is part of the airport's goal to have zero waste going to landfill by 2021

plastic bottles
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The San Francisco Airport wants travelers to be a little more green.

The airport’s new ban on plastic bottles took effect on Tuesday, meaning all flyers going through the airport will need to use a refillable bottle to hydrate.

The new regulation requires airport retailers and restaurants — and even vending machines — to sell or provide water in recyclable aluminum, glass or BPI-certified compostable bottles, the airport said in its announcement earlier this month (a complete list of approved bottles can be found here).

While the requirement applies to all types of water (sparkling included), it does not apply to other beverages like soda, tea, or juice.

The new policy is one of several steps the airport is taking to achieve its goal of having zero waste going to landfill by 2021, and is part of the Zero Waste Concessions Program that launched this year.

The program also includes policies that make straws available only by request; single-use food ware be provided in compostable packaging; food service accessories like lids and cutlery be only available at self-service or by request; and events with more than 100 attendees utilize reusable cups.

While the airport still limits carry-on liquids brought through security to three ounces, per TSA regulations, travelers are encouraged to bring their own reusable water bottles to be filled at any one of the airport’s 100 free Hydration Stations and drinking fountains. Hydration Stations are located in all terminals.

The airport promises that water at these stations is checked daily and that the fountains are regularly cleaned.

For the environmentally conscious traveler, the airport suggests using a small suitcase to lighten the weight on aircrafts and packing reusable and recyclable items.

SFO said that it produces more than 28 million pounds of passenger-related waste every year, including roughly 10,000 bottles of water sold at the airport every day. Hopefully, the new policy concerning plastic bottles will make a dent.

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