The First American City to Ban Plastic Water Bottles

San Francisco says recycling is not enough 

Plastic pollution is one of the greatest burdens to the environment. Believe it or not, enough plastic is discarded every year to circle the globe four times. Even worse, it is estimated that 50 percent of the plastic on this planet is used only once before being thrown away.

To curb the issue of plastic pollution, the city of San Francisco has just done something monumental: it has  become the first in America to ban the sale of plastic water bottles. 

The move is building a global movement to reduce the huge amount of waste from the billion-dollar plastic bottle industry which is taking a toll on the environment.

Over the next four years, the ban will phase out the sales of plastic water bottles that hold 21 ounces or less in public spaces. A waiver is permissible if an adequate alternative water source is not available, reports GlobalFlare. 

Think Outside the Bottle campaign, a national effort that encourages restrictions of the “eco-unfriendly product,” was one of the largest supporters of the proposal.

While the San Francisco ban is less strict than the full prohibitions passed in 14 national parks and a number of universities in Concord, Massachusetts, it is a step in the right direction. 

Those who violate the ban could face fines of up to $1,000. That’s certainly an incentive to invest in a reusable glass bottle.

The ban is “another step forward on our zero-waste goal,” said Joshua Arce, the chairman of the Commission on the Environment. “We had big public events for decades without plastic bottles and we’ll do fine without them again.”

This isn’t the first effort by the city to curb plastic pollution. In the past, San Francisco banned plastic bags and plastic foam containers. 

By 2020, the city aims to have no waste going to its landfill. Its diversion rate now stands at 80 percent.

What did the American Beverage Association, which includes Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo, have to say about the plastic bottle ban? The ban is “nothing more than a solution in search of a problem. This is a misguided attempt by city supervisors to decrease waste in a city of avid recyclers.” 

San Francisco may be more recycle-happy than other cities, but plastic pollution needs to be curbed. Perhaps in the future, other cities will follow the city’s bold lead and phase out plastics completely.


Shared with permission from TrueActivist.

24 responses to “The First American City to Ban Plastic Water Bottles”

  1. pactbusiness4good@gmail.com says:

    Hi from Cape Town, South Africa <3 Well done San Francisco!

  2. Mario Taga Tiger says:

    Hi from TARANTO, Italy…you are great in San Francisco! Go on, we will follow!

  3. Hi ….. from Les cheneaux Islands in the Straits of Mackinaw. Way to go San Fran …. You’re setting a higher standard for the rest of us to follow …..

  4. Taylorwientjes@gmail.com says:

    What great strides! The beverage associations should be ashamed for being disgruntled with this. They would rather pollute Earth for a quick buck, than try to save it with smarter packaging. Those are companies I cannot stand by.

  5. Nathan says:

    A small town named Gisborne in New Zealand hopes to do the same!

  6. Asher says:

    It would be awesome if the whole world followed.

  7. debra_claire@yahoo.com says:

    Do you know, until I saw the WXXI "Divide and Concord" TV piece , I was woefully unaware! How do I start this important movement in in conservative upstate NY?

  8. execadmin@plasticpollutioncoalition.org says:

    Thank you for your question. Start by contacting your representatives. Here are more tips: https://www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org/guides-towns

  9. : सैन फ्रांसिस्को दुनिया का पहला शहर बन गया है, जहां बोतलबंद पानी की बिक्री रोक दी गई है ..नौ महीने चली बहस के बाद .. ये निर्णय हुआ कि नागरिक अपनी बोतल में… मुफ्त पानी उपलब्ध कराने वाले पॉइंट से पानी ले सकते हैं… बहस में उन्होंने माना … कि प्रकृति द्वारा प्रदत्त जीवन के लिए अत्यावश्यक … जल का बाजारीकरण नहीं होना चाहिए … अफ़सोस हिंदुस्तान में लोग जहां प्याऊ चलवाते थे … कुंए, तालाब खुदवाते थे … वहां विदेशी कम्पनी लूट रही हैं … और सैन फ्रांसिस्को हिन्दुस्तानी विचारधारा अपना रहा है … कि पानी कभी बेचा नहीं जाना चाहिए ….!
    यदि उक्त लेख आपको उपयुक्त लगे तो इसे यथासंभव विस्तारित कर भूखे को रोटी और प्यासे को पानी देने की हमारी प्राचीन परंपरा को संबल दे । ??
    : I would rate this message as the best message of the decade

    This will be the revolutionary step if we could ban bottled drinking water in terms of conservation of drinking water and plastic free Green earth.

  10. collinstrassaco@yahoo.com says:

    great idea but what is the replacement

  11. lee.ray.fowler@gmail.com says:

    I believe that the ban on plastic water bottles is great but whats the point if there’s really no solution for a replacement

  12. Moslattara@campus.ie says:

    The world should do it! Not just for water all plastic bottles

  13. luposian@cox.net says:

    1 & #2 plastics are commonly recycled. If we simply encourage people to recycle those bottles (even a few cents credit for every one deposited), plastic is not a problem. Glass breaks. Plastic generally doesn’t. That’s why it was invented in the first place. Stainless steel would be a better option, I think.

  14. Frank says:

    I’m no Greenie by a long shot and left California because of the deluge if stupid laws and even stupider politics. San Francisco is the epicenter of most of that stupid.

    But this law is one even I can get behind because not only attempt to solve a growing problem, it was obviously thought out (unlike the bag ban which was nothing more than a hidden tax). Allowing larger amounts of fluid products to be still be sold in plastic containers was a wonderfully sensible decision!

    Be careful, SF. You’re slipping back to the center. 😉

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