Six years after it banned single-use plastic bags, San Francisco could become the first major U.S. city to restrict plastic water bottles as well. Under a new proposal made by city supervisor David Chiu, San Francisco would ban the sale of plastic water bottles at any events on public land with more than 100 people. The proposed ordinance would also prevent the city from spending any public money on bottled water.
“Given that San Franciscans can access clean and inexpensive water out of our taps, we need to wean ourselves off our recent addiction to plastic water bottles,” Chiu said. “I hope San Francisco can again lead the way, by drinking water without harming the environment or the bottom line.”
The proposal does have exemptions – for example, stores operating on private property could still sell bottled water, and races and charity walkathon events would not face restrictions. A first offense would bring a fine of up to $500. The proposal includes a sort of sliding scale, too, with provisions that could reduce sales over time. Vendors applying for future permits, for instance, to sell items on city streets might have to agree to not sell plastic water bottles.
Unsurprisingly, there are critics of the proposal, like the American Beverage Association (ABA), which represents companies like Coca-Cola (which produces Dasani water). “The consumer should have a choice on how they drink their water,” ABA spokeswoman Kate Krebs recently told the San Francisco Examiner.
San Francisco’s board of supervisors is expected to vote on the proposal by February. If approved, San Francisco will join Concord, MA, in enacting a plastic water bottle ban.