Sale of Plastic Bottles Banned at San Francisco airport (SFO)

Effective August 20th the sale of single-use plastic water bottles will be banned at San Francisco airport (SFO) following an ordinance approved in 2014 banning the sale of plastic water bottles on city-owned property.

The ban includes cafes, restaurants and vending machines. It’s the first such policy in a major U.S. airport.

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“We’re the first airport that we’re aware of to implement this change,” SFO spokesman Doug Yakel said. “We’re on the leading edge for the industry, and we want to push the boundaries of sustainability initiatives.”

The shift away from plastics is part of a broader plan at SFO to slash net carbon emissions and energy use to zero and eliminate most landfill waste by 2021. vendors have been told to provide only compostable single-use food ware, including to-go containers, condiment packets, straws and disposable utensils. But, considering the approximately 4 million plastic water bottles sold per year at the airport, it may be more difficult for vendors to adhere to the water bottle ban.

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So, the main question is, what should travellers do? Drink the water from Airfield’s taps? I guess, but Its been proven to be unsafe to do that in other airports. This is really sad considering most International airports need to have clean safe water. Let’s look at this pretty well. A warning to residents to boil their tap water before drinking it was issued by The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority after children tested positive for elevated levels of lead. This doesn’t sound good. Don’t forget that in 2018, 57 out of 86 schools in Detroit tested positive for elevated levels of copper or lead. So the main question is, is the water being offered safe?

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Well, the good thing is SFO has more than 100 hydration stations, which dispense filtered water for free. Alternatively, you can look for water in non-plastic bottles at airport shops. If you are a clean freak like me don’t worry about the water stations being dirty, they are cleaned multiple times per day by airport workers.


The battle with plastic bottles has been ongoing for years if not a decade. This comes to play because of many factors considering how many years it takes them to decompose. Coca-Cola (KO) produced 3.3 million tons of plastic in 2017. That’s definitely not good. The company is trying to figure out ways to reduce their use of virgin plastics and increase recycling. They’re also exploring alternatives to plastics, like aluminium, that are easier to recycle.

The UK announced a 25-year plan aimed to “set the global gold standard” on eliminating plastic. This includes Banning MicroBeads, Plastic-Free Aisle in Supermarkets, Banning CottonBuds, Plastic Straws among others. This is good and honestly, the UK looks and feels cleaner. Oh, before I forget, Being Kenyan my country also banned the use of plastics 2 years ago and how serious is my country? The use, manufacture or importation of plastic bags risks imprisonment of up to four years, or a fine of between $19,417 and $38,834.

All in all, moving on. This is a great move by SFO and other airports should follow suit.

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