By: Alisa Zhou
From vending machines to gas station marts, bottled water is one of the most easily accessible beverages you can find. One of the largest vendors of plastic water bottles is airports, where approximately 4 million plastic water bottles sold per year. However, in an era where society is ever more conscious of the waste we produce, San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is focusing its attention to becoming more environmentally friendly with a goal to become zero-waste friendly by 2021. This means that the airport must divert at least 90% of waste from landfills and incinerators by recycling and composting. SFO has already made tremendous efforts to fulfill its goal. In September 2018, California governor Jerry Brown signed a law that stops dine-in restaurants from providing plastic straws to customers automatically. In March 2019, SFO also transitioned away from single-use plastic food service ware and utensils. Vendors must now provide single-use foodware that is compostable, including to-go containers, condiment packets, straws and utensils. As applied to plastic water bottles, the zero-waste friendly goal means that SFO will no longer be providing plastic water bottles for sale. Starting on August 21, 2019, airport vendors and tenants operating restaurants, cafes, or vending machines, will have to stop selling or providing free bottled water in plastic and instead sell or provide reusable recyclable aluminum, glass and certified compostable water bottles. Besides purchasing a non-plastic bottle, travelers can hydrate by bringing a reusable bottle and utilize one of the 100 existing refillable water stations available throughout the airport or buy an airport-approved glass or aluminum water bottle. So far, the policy does not apply to any flavored drinks like soda, iced tea or coffee and juice, but it would not be surprising to see an expansion of the plastic ban in the near future.
Sources: https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/02/business/plastic-water-bottle-ban-sfo-trnd/index.html https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwj19ezSqOfjAhURvJ4KHTykC6IQjRx6BAgBEAU&url=%2Furl%3Fsa%3Di%26source%3Dimages%26cd%3D%26ved%3D%26url%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fwww.apnews.com%252F224e08cb2a724e67a1f314498faade89%26psig%3DAOvVaw36WcSuZcnd8PCXfc_3p9P7%26ust%3D1564942809145099&psig=AOvVaw36WcSuZcnd8PCXfc_3p9P7&ust=1564942809145099