San Franscisco Airport Plans To Ban Sale of Plastic Water Bottles; Effective August 20th

The city of San Francisco has always been at the forefront of new, cutting edge ideas and San Francisco Airport (SFO) is not to be left behind.

In fact, if you look in the rear view mirror, you will soon see the days of buying last-minute, pre-flight bottles of water at San Francisco Airport. If you want hydrate, you’ll either have to bring your own reusable bottle or prepare your wallet to buy airport-approved glass or aluminum water bottles.

SFO set a goal three years ago of becoming the world’s first zero-waste airport by 2021 and in a first-of-its-kind move, SFO has banned the sale of single-use plastic water bottles (starting 20 August 2019). The airport will now be in compliance with a city ordinance (passed in 2014) banning plastic bottles from being sold on city-owned property.

This past March, SFO also transitioned away from single-use plastic food service utensils so it appears they are on track to accomplish their goals.


As an avid scuba diver, I have seen first-hand consequences plastic utensils and bottles have taken on our oceans so I appreciate this initiative. However, airport security still bans passengers from bringing filled bottles of water from the outside. In other words, airport passengers will be relegated to using the airport water refilling stations. I’m not a germaphobe but I don’t trust airports to keep them serviced, clean and germ-free.

In my experience, I have noticed many more vendors moving to glass bottles (which are still permitted) and the single-use heavy paper bottles seen in many restaurants.

What do you make of this ban? Will it influence whether you buy water at the airport?

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