San Francisco International Airport is banning the sale of single-use plastic bottles and will require fliers to buy refillable bottles if they’re not already carrying their own.
The new rule comes into effect on August 20 and is part of a five-year plan to lower landfill waste, net carbon emissions and net energy use to zero.
“A single plastic bottle takes 500-1000 years to break down. That’s why we’re prohibiting the sale of plastic bottled water. Bring your own bottle next time you #FlySFO and fill up at one of SFO’s 100+ hydration stations”, the airport tweeted on Friday.
Shops, eateries and airline lounges at the airport will no longer be allowed to provide or sell water in single-use plastic bottles from Aug. 20.
The ban is part of SFO’s Zero Waste initiative. Travellers will be able to fill their own bottles at the airport’s 100 hydration stations, and stores can still provide or sell empty re-useable bottles or pre-filled recyclable aluminium and glass or BPI-certified compostable water bottles, the airport said in its official @flySFO Twitter account.
“We’re the first airport that we’re aware of to implement this change,” airport spokesman Doug Yakel told the newspaper.
“We’re on the leading edge for the industry, and we want to push the boundaries of sustainability initiatives,” he said.
The ban exempts brands of flavoured water.
Airports in Dubai and India have announced similar plastic bottle bans, but have yet to fully implement them.
The city of San Francisco banned the sale of plastic water bottles on city-owned property back in 2014, but allowed delays and granted certain exemptions.
Global plastic production has grown rapidly, and is currently at more than 400 million tons per year.
Single-use items represent about 70 percent of the plastic waste littering the marine environment.
Each year, a million birds and more than 100,000 marine mammals worldwide are injured or killed by becoming entangled in plastic or ingesting it through the food chain.
Canada and the European Union have pledged to ban single-use plastics starting in 2021.