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San Francisco considers ban on bottled water

The latest push on environmental issues in SF is a proposal by one supervisor to ban the sale of bottled water on city property.
December 18, 2013 7:16:15 PM PST
San Francisco is often at the forefront on environmental issues and the latest push is a proposal by one supervisor to ban the sale of bottled water on city property.

San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu says we are addicted to plastic bottled water and he wants the city to kick the habit. "The city shouldn't be deriving revenue from something that is such an environmentally bad practice," he said.

Chiu has introduced legislation he says will wean the city off the bottle. "It says that on city property, whether it be indoor or outdoor, if there are accessible water sources, that you can't sell plastic water bottles on those sites," he explained.

Parts of his proposal would kick in next year and others in 2016. Departments could no longer buy bottles 21 ounces and less and eventually, vendors like the hotdog stand at Civic Center Plaza and those inside City Hall would be restricted.

Reactions have been mixed.

"Having the bottled water here is quite convenient so I don't have to go away from my desk," Glenn Johnson told ABC7 News.

"I'm worried about the plastic. The plastic's bad for us," said Suli Matau.

The bottled water industry says limiting access to its product would be misguided. "Bottled water, it's the healthiest beverage on the shelf and consumers do choose bottled water often to limit or eliminate the calories in their diet, the sugar, the caffeine," said Joe Doss with the International Bottled Water Association.

There are several exceptions in the proposed ban. For example, marathons and sporting events would be exempt. But Chiu points to two events as success stories, even without a city requirement. The Outside Lands Music Festival has had a refillable bottle program since 2009 and vendors at this year's America's Cup did not sell bottled water.

Expect a hearing on the proposal next month.


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