Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

San Francisco sets sights on plastic water bottle reduction

Bottled water
Bottled water
klearchos/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

In 2007, San Francisco made history as the first American city to ban single-use plastic bags. Now, city officials are investigating ways to reduce plastic water bottles.

According to the Associated Press, one of the proposals being considered is an ordinance requiring new and renovated buildings with water fountains to also install bottle-filling taps to encourage reusable containers instead of plastic bottles. The upgrades to existing water fountains would run about $750.

“This is the appropriate next step to make it easier for San Franciscans to get out of the bad habit of using environmentally wasteful plastic water bottles and into the good habit of using reusable water containers,” said David Chiu, the Board of Supervisors President who's behind the bill. He offers it up as a best-case scenario as compared to more extreme measures, like a plastic bottle tax or outright ban, akin to the plastic bag. Ultimately, Chiu says the move is meant to emphasis the quality of San Francisco tap water.

“San Francisco has among the best drinking water in country,” said NRDC attorney Mae Wu. “It’s ridiculous that people would go out and spend their now very limited dollars to buy bottled water.”

This comes just months after San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome banned city departments from buying bottled water, citing their environmental impact.