No More Bottles!: SF’s Plastic Bottled Water Ban

sf.waterbottles.0329San Francisco continues to stake out new territory as the leader in waste diversion by proposing a ban on the sale of water bottles on public property.  If enacted, this would be among the strictest bottled water bans in the country.  This idea has sparked a debate, with people on both sides weighing in on the potential impact (positive and adverse) of such a bold move.

Who Would be Affected?

The ordinance would apply to any event conducted on public property with 100 or more attendees.   This would not just apply to conventional festivals, but would even extend to mobile food trucks — which would need to offer tap water instead of purveying bottled water, though it would only apply to events with adequate on-site tap water, initially.  That is until late 2016, when it would take affect at all events on San Francisco-owned property.

The Pros:

  • The water’s great!  Long considered exceptional, San Francisco tap water comes from snowmelt flowing down the Tuolumne River and is quality-tested  100,000> times a year.  This water is considered so pure that the both the Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Public Health say it needs no filtration.
  • Back in 2007, former Mayor Gavin Newsom’s executive order prohibiting the use of city funds purchase bottled water saved half a million in annual city spending.
  • Bottled water requires 17 million (estimated) barrels of oil each year of production  and three times the water produced to produce it.

For annual events, such as Outside Lands which draws 65,000 people, only three refillable tap water stations were available.  This example is but one of the many that mandates that the city thoroughly study how to accommodate water supply demands at such events and prioritize installing water fountains and reusable bottle filling stations.

Source: http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2013/12/17/121024/bottled-water-sales-ban-San-Francisco

By: Ethan Malone

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