San Francisco International Airport Prohibits Sale of Water in Plastic Bottles

Metal water bottles
Metal and glass water bottles will be the norm at SFO now that plastic bottles are banned.

The sale of water in plastic bottles is now prohibited in San Francisco International Airport, the first major airport to do this.

All airport retailers, restaurants, airline lounges, and vending machines are now selling water in recyclable aluminum, glass, or BPI-certified compostable bottles. This is part of the airport’s goal to become the world’s first zero-waste airport by 2021. That equates to diverting at least 90 percent of waste from landfills and incinerators, according to the nonprofit organization, Zero Waste Alliance.

“SFO continues to lead the way in airport sustainability initiatives,” said Ivar C. Satero, director of the airport, in a statement. “With this move, we take a giant step towards our goal to achieve zero waste going into landfill. I appreciate the support of our SFO business community in making this bold move for our environment.”

Prohibiting the sale of bottled water in plastic packaging was implemented at this time because the market for acceptable alternatives has matured sufficiently and there is now a variety of choices for sale. SFO has provided retailers with a list of approved alternatives to plastic water bottles and will continue to update this list as the market for plastic-free bottled water evolves.

In addition to the purchase of bottled water, customers may bring a reusable beverage container to fill up at any of SFO’s approximately 100 free hydration stations and drinking fountains, located in all terminals both pre- and post-security.

Passenger activity at SFO generates over 28 million pounds of waste annually, which includes approximately 10,000 bottles of water sold every day at SFO. Worldwide, less than 25 percent of plastic bottles get recycled, and the market for the recycling of plastic bottles continues to shrink. It is estimated that a single plastic bottle takes anywhere from 450 to 1,000 years to biodegrade in landfill.

For more information on the ban, click here. The airport is helping travelers destress with its Wag Brigade. Read all about these adorable service dogs by clicking here. For tips on how to green your meetings and travel, click here.

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