April 2014

San Francisco Bans Sale of Bottled Water

San FranciscoSan Francisco

San Francisco
San Francisco residents soon will not be able to buy bottled water in city-owned parks and buildings.

San Francisco, California, has made steps toward passing an ordinance, or law, that will ban the sale of water bottles on city-owned property. This includes public buildings and outdoor spaces. On March 11, 2014, the city’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in support of the ordinance. The law still needs to get the approval of San Francisco’s mayor.

The city hopes to become more “green,” or environmentally conscious. One way they want to do this is by limiting the use of plastic water bottles. Today, Americans use about 50 billion plastic water bottles a year. Of these, only 23 percent are recycled. San Francisco hopes to become a zero-waste city by 2020. Some other programs being considered by city leaders include a ban on disposable plastic bags in grocery stores. City leaders also want to start a mandatory composting program. Composting is a way to recycle leftover food and turn it into fertilizer for plants.

Starting on October 4, the proposed ban will slowly stop the sale of plastic water bottles, 21 ounces and under, on city property over the next four years. Violators of the ban could have to pay fines of up to $1,000. San Francisco isn’t the first place to ban the sale of plastic water bottles. Many national parks already have. The city of Concord, Massachusetts, has also done so.

Some people worry that the lack of bottled water for sale might prompt consumers to buy sugary sports drinks or soda instead. Others wonder if the city has enough water fountains and water refilling stations to keep up with people’s water needs. Still others worry that there might be an economic impact on those who depend on the sale of bottled water to make money.

Image credit: ©Ascent Xmedia/Getty Images
Question 1
What other way is San Francisco considering to become a zero-waste city?

Question 2
What other city has a ban on the sale of plastic water bottles?

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