Bottled water is getting closer to being banned in San Francisco.
The environmentally “conscious” City by the Bay is moving closer to banning sales of the plastic water bottles at events held on city property. Legislators there unanimously voted to end the sale and distribution of plastic bottled water on municipal property, bringing the city nearer to its goal of diverting all its waste from landfill or incineration by 2020.
It isn’t just San Francisco that is becoming more environmentally friendly, there are six states and at least 140 other American cities, such as Seattle, that have also officially stopped buying bottled water with municipal money. San Francisco, though, is the first major city to prohibit vendors from selling it on their property.
Tens of millions of single serving plastic water bottles are sent to landfills every year. More than 75 percent of the 50 billion plastic water bottles consumed by Americans each year are not recycled, according to journalist Charles Fishman.
“Given that San Franciscans can access clean and inexpensive water out of our taps, we need to wean ourselves out of our addiction to plastic water bottles,” said David Chiu, the county supervisor who introduced the ordinance.
“The bottled water industry spends millions of dollars to undermine the public’s faith in tap water,” added Lauren DeRusha, an organizer with Corporate Accountability International, whose organization worked with San Francisco on the legislation as part of a national campaign on protecting public water systems.
The legislation only applies to bottles that are 21 ounces or smaller, and will come into effect if signed off by Mayor Ed Lee later this month.
The ordinance prohibiting the sale of drinking water in single-use bottles starts on Oct. 1 for indoor events and in 2016 for outdoor events. The ban states specific exemptions for footraces and other athletic events, while giving food trucks and large nonprofits, such as the annual Gay Pride Parade, until 2018 to comply.
San Francisco also initiated the first plastic bag ban in the country in 2007, eliminating plastic bags at large grocery stores. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted in February to expand the city’s ban to cover all stores and restaurants as well and a citywide ban on all plastic bags has been in effect since October 2013.
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