SF considers banning plastic bottles

August 9, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
First it was plastic bags, now San Francisco city leaders are considering banning plastic water bottles. The idea to kick the bottle is still in the early stages, but it appears to be gaining traction at City Hall.

Whether it is a music concert at Golden Gate Park or a street festival in North Beach, changes could be coming. If environmental leaders in San Francisco get their way, people would no longer be able to buy a bottle of water at a public event on city property. Instead, people would be encouraged to bring one of their own.

Miriam Gordon of Clean Water Action addressed San Francisco's Policy Committee of the Commission on the Environment Monday evening. She explained how she was able to pull off a plastic bottle-free event at last year's Maccabi Games -- a youth athletic event. Instead of being handed bottled water, some 3,000 participants filled their reusable bottle at several water stations. Gordon believes, the same kind of thing can be done at even bigger events.

"Tickets can say 'bring your own bottle' on them," said Gordon. "When you go online to buy your tickets, there can be all kinds of information online about what to expect when you get to the event."

Among the ideas, dispensers with several spigots placed throughout large gatherings. Those who forget their reusable bottle would be provided compostable cups. Members of the Commission on the Environment say it would be a drastic yet necessary change.

"So many of these plastic bottles end up in the waste steam, no matter how many recycling containers you may put out, and how many times you ask people to please recycle them, they end up in the trash," said Ruth Gravanis from the Commission on the Environment.

But as much as people like the idea of helping the environment, many say banning the sale of bottled water at public events is a bit extreme.

"It's too unusual. It's too quirky. It's unnecessary," said San Francisco resident Josh Wright.

"It's easier to just come here and buy a bottle of water than have to remember to bring your own bottle," said Modesto resident Shaneye Logan.

Despite some skepticism from the public, members of the Commission on the Environment are moving forward. They plan to come up with a proposed ordinance that could ultimately be put before the Board of Supervisors.


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