A man drinks from a plastic water bottle at San Francisco Airport
A man drinks from a plastic water bottle at San Francisco Airport

San Francisco Airport to stop selling plastic bottles of water

‘We’re the first airport that we’re aware of to implement this change,’ says airport representative

Sabrina Barr
Saturday 03 August 2019 12:09
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San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has announced it is to cease the sale of plastic bottled water in the coming weeks.

On Friday, the airport released a statement regarding its new environmentally friendly initiative, as part of its Zero Waste Plan.

The release outlined that from Tuesday 20 August, restaurants, shops and airline lounges will no longer be allowed to serve or sell plastic bottled water.

"SFO's goal is to reduce single-use disposable plastics by transitioning to reusable, compostable, and recyclable alternatives at SFO shops, eateries, and airline lounges," the airport stated.

As an alternative to plastic, water will be available to purchase in bottles made from single and multi-use aluminium and glass.

The airport has also provided travellers with around 100 hydration stations and drinking fountains in all terminals, in order to "expand access and encourage passengers to refill their reusable/refillable bottles".

According to Doug Yakel, spokesperson for SFO, the airport is spearheading greater commitment to sustainability within the industry.

"We're the first airport that we're aware of to implement this change," Mr Yakel told San Francisco Chronicle.

"We're on the leading edge for the industry, and we want to push the boundaries of sustainability initiatives."

In 2014, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors backed a proposal to ban the sale of plastic bottled water on city property.

Five years later, the ban of plastic bottled water at SFO is being implemented in accordance with the approved ordinance.

In addition to ceasing the practice of serving or selling plastic bottled water at the airport, all food and beverages prepared at the airport will be served in containers which are reusable or certified as compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI).

"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," SFO stated in its statement.

"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."

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It was recently announced that InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is set to ban mini plastic toiletries over the next two years.

The American company currently uses an average of 200 million bathroom miniatures on an annual basis.

“Switching to larger-size amenities across more than 5,600 hotels around the world is a big step in the right direction and will allow us to significantly reduce our waste footprint and environmental impact as we make the change," said Keith Barr, chief executive of IHG.

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