Six years after banning single-use plastic bags, San Francisco is on the verge of prohibiting the sale of plastic water bottles at events held on city property. On Tuesday, the city’s Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a measure that would ban the sale of single-use bottles containing 21 ounces or less of water. If signed into law – a move that appears likely – the ordinance would take effect on October 1, 2014, for indoor events and in 2016 for most outdoor events.
“In San Francisco, we’ve been leading the way in fighting for our environment,” said Supervisor David Chiu, who wrote the water bottle legislation. “There are incredible, enormous environmental costs of plastic water bottles. It takes 1,000 years for a typical plastic water bottle to biodegrade.”
While the ordinance would affect mobile vendors, like food trucks, there are exceptions in the legislation for certain groups and events. Exemptions would be granted to footraces, like marathons, and substantial nonprofits would have until 2018 to comply with the ban. It appears the ban does not include the San Francisco International Airport. Still, San Francisco-area distributors see the measure as a chance to sell more multi-use promotional water bottles to clients.
“This will lead to additional sales of promotional water bottles as residents and tourists alike will need some type of drinking receptacle,” says Ryan Walsh, owner of San Francisco firm Slingshot Marketing (asi/328686). Adds Jonathan Stone, president of ADBP Specialty Advertising (asi/101190): “San Francisco was the first major city to ban plastic bags. I told my clients that this was an opportunity to get their name in front of their customers and be good corporate citizens. Many took advantage of the opportunity. I am viewing the water bottle ban to be another chance to create goodwill.”
If the measure becomes law, San Francisco would be the largest city in the U.S. to ban single-use water bottles. The ordinance must still receive final approval by supervisors – something seen as a virtual certainly – before being sent to Mayor Ed Lee.