San Francisco Airport is banning the sale of single use water bottles

Travel can have a big environmental impact, so it’s always good when companies get on board with creating more sustainable alternatives. One such example is San Francisco International Airport, who have just introduced a new policy that will completely avoid the use of plastic water bottles.

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The policy will be in place from August 20 onwards. Image by San Francisco International Airport

Effective from August 20, the airport will prohibit the provision or sale of single-use water bottles in plastic or aseptic paper packaging. The policy covers drinking water in sealed boxes, bags, cans, bottles and other containers created for single-service use that have the capacity of 1 litre or less, meaning that these items will no longer be provided or sold in airport concessions, vending machines or lounges. The policy also applies to unflavoured water, including purified water, mineral water, sparkling and electrolyte-enhanced water. It does not pertain however to flavoured drinks including sodas, teas and juices, and does not apply to beverages served onboard aircraft leaving from or arriving at the airport.

The policy supports San Francisco International Airport’s goal to achieve zero waste going to landfills by 2021, with recent studies showing that passenger activity generates approximately 28 million pounds of waste annually. Worldwide, less than 25% of plastic bottles get recycled, and it is estimated that a single plastic bottle takes anywhere from 450 to 1,000 years to biodegrade.

The airport features approximately 100 hydration stations.
The airport features approximately 100 hydration stations. Image by San Francisco International Airport

Effective from August 20 onwards, single-use bottled water will still be available for sale in either recyclable aluminium, recycled glass or compostable packaging, and the airport has provided airport concessions and tenants with a list of approved bottled water. In addition, customers can bring or purchase a re-useable beverage container, which can be filled at any of the airport’s approximately 100 hydration stations, located in every terminal.

TSA regulations still limit the carry-on of liquids to less than 3 ounces.