SFO bans sale of some plastic water bottles

Tuesday, August 20, 2019
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A ban on the sale of single-use plastic water bottles is now in effect at the airport, but it does not apply to bottles larger than a liter.

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (KGO) -- San Francisco International Airport now bans the sale of water in plastic bottles smaller than a liter. The ban went into effect today, but you can still buy water in large plastic bottles. You can also buy soda, lemonade, and tea in plastic bottles. This had airport shoppers today wondering if this really is a ban.

"Well, I think there should be a total ban. It is inconsistent to do one size and not the other. Plastic is plastic," said Marc Fong of San Ramon.

"Tea and lemonade and sodas but not the water? Come on guys," said Murrell Peddicord of Santa Rosa.

RELATED: Most travelers welcome sale ban of single-use plastic water bottles at San Francisco International Airport

The airport spokesperson said it is about money and the availability of compostable and recyclable packaging.

"We want to set up our retailers for success and if we implement a policy like this we want to ensure that there are good alternatives available for sale. This is something we have wanted to do for years. But even two to three years ago there simply weren't a lot of good alternatives to plastic water bottles. Whereas now that market industry has really started to grow. And our hope is that it continues to grow where it will include larger bottles and can include things like sodas, teas and juices," said spokesperson Doug Yakel.

Until then passengers tell us they are OK with banning some plastic at the airport and bringing their reusable bottles.

"I think that is smart. I think the plastic is invading the ocean and that has a negative impact on the ecology," said Fong.

"I always carry my plastic water bottle, refill it and wash it every few days so it works out fine," said Sarah Kay of Hawaii.

Yakel says the airport sold nearly four million plastic water bottles. To try and reduce plastic use, SFO has about 100 refill stations where travelers can fill up their reusable bottles with water. Just be sure it is empty when you go through security.

Traveler Mark Guerin feels confident the airport will be able to eventually ban all plastic.

"They'll get there. Change always comes in small increments and then we have to illuminate the big picture," Guerin said.