Is the SFO Water Bottle Ban the Proper Transfer?


A SFO-branded reusable water bottle. That is most likely a ok cause to by no means use a plastic water bottle once more. – Photograph: AirlineReporter

First off, let’s be clear, I just like the setting and need to not solely do my half to ensure we’ve got a pleasant little planet to stay on, but additionally to inspire others. Nonetheless, the plastic water bottle gross sales ban on the San Francisco Worldwide Airport (SFO), taking impact on August 20th, bought me pondering. Do these kinds of modifications work as nicely in a “trapped” world, like an airport? I say that since folks in an airport should not have as a lot alternative… they largely can solely choose among the many choices given to them on the airside (after security).

Through the years, airports have grown the alternatives airside by leaps and bounds. Heck, many airports are extra like buying malls than an airports. However in the long run, you’re restricted. In case your native grocery retailer decides to not promote a product and it’s tremendous necessary to you… cool, simply go down the road to the subsequent one. On the airport, that’s going to be a bit extra of an ordeal.

My paper straw that I got to try while flying through SFO last - Photo: David Parker Brown

My paper straw that I bought to strive whereas flying by SFO final time – Photograph: David Parker Brown

I’ll say that I used to be shocked by a few of the numbers. On common, SFO sells about 10,000 plastic water bottles per day, and that equals three,650,000 per 12 months. No query that’s A LOT of plastic and even when they’re all recycled (saying they’re being recycled), it isn’t a great factor for the setting. It truly makes me fairly unhappy so many individuals don’t deliver their very own reusable bottles (my fiancé brings one for each of us and is all the time reminding me to hydrate). Conversely, that prime variety of bottles additionally reveals there’s A LOT of demand from folks to drink water in plastic bottles. Is it truthful to require passengers to make use of different choices?

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Positive, positive, getting a reusable plastic bottle just isn’t that a lot to ask, and the airport is offering another good choices, together with water in different packaging (like aluminum and glass). But how costly will these be and the way will that influence a household of 4 on a hard and fast finances? Will passengers settle for the change? Ought to there be some line of comfort vs doing what’s proper, and is that this new coverage crossing it? Actually, I don’t know the solutions. However let me share with you a few of my ideas and I hope that we’ve got a great dialog within the feedback…

Terminal 3 food court - Photo: SFO

Terminal three meals courtroom – Photograph: SFO

First, right here is the official write up from the airport:

Airport tenants, distributors, and permittees could not present or promote bottled water in containers that comprise plastic or aseptic paper packaging, together with in merchandising machines. Reusable water bottles, recyclable aluminum, glass and authorized compostable water bottles can as an alternative be supplied or offered.

Bottled water is outlined as consuming water in a sealed field, bag, can, bottle, or different container meant primarily for single-service use and having a capability of 1 liter or much less.  Consuming water contains purified water, mineral water, carbonated or glowing water, and electrolyte-enhanced water.

SFO offers plenty of hydration stations - Image: SFO

SFO provides loads of hydration stations – Picture: SFO

SFO has been making optimistic strides ahead with going inexperienced this 12 months, and an enormous cheers to them. Again in March, they began encouraging distributors to make use of reusable meals service ware, and may solely give prospects one-use objects if they’re licensed compostable (i.e. made with paper, wooden, or bamboo). Throughout my latest flight by SFO, I used to be in a position to check out a few of these and I’ll say I’m not an enormous fan of utilizing a paper straw. I truly quite use no straw vs paper, and I assume that’s most likely the purpose! I don’t assume it’s that a lot of a sacrifice for the larger good and I’m guessing that almost all passengers won’t even discover or care.

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Approved water options that vendors can use after the ban goes into effect - Image: SFO

Authorized water choices that distributors can use after the ban goes into impact – Picture: SFO

I’ll say after I was first wanting into this, I wasn’t the largest fan. Individuals are going to note the change and would possibly care about 10,000 occasions per day. Nonetheless, after seeing that SFO just isn’t planning to go away passengers excessive and dry (man, I like puns), this may not be that unhealthy of a transition and perhaps they’ll pull it off with out irritating too many individuals. The listing above are all of the authorised water merchandise that distributors can provide — and there are lots. You will note that they’re both fabricated from aluminum or glass. The airport additionally provides loads of hydration stations (ie locations the place you’ll be able to replenish your individual bottle rapidly), however hopefully there will probably be sufficient with the elevated demand. 

Perhaps a part of my hesitation is simply being a grumpy outdated man saying “get off my garden” (on the age of 38) and having a tough time with change. I’m not attempting to be that particular person. I actually hope that this finally ends up working and makes a optimistic influence with the discount of plastic. I simply know that flying is a fairly disturbing expertise for most individuals (even AvGeeks) and attempting to get water shouldn’t add to the stress. On the identical time, the distributors can even want to ensure the brand new choices stay value efficient. I used to be informed that if the water bottle change is profitable, the airport will probably be trying to additionally change different drinks in plastic bottles like soda, teas, and juices (saying choices for these merchandise in several containers enhance). I really hope this transition is a hit and may unfold to different airports. Till then, I’ll optimistically watch from the sidelines.

What are your ideas? Do you assume this may make an excessive amount of of a detrimental influence for vacationers or is that this all definitely worth the sacrifice for Mom Earth? Go away your ideas within the feedback.

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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER – SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and offered on a number of matters regarding airways and journey since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a lot of information organizations, together with BBC, CNN, NBC Information, Bloomberg, and others. He’s obsessed with sharing the complexities, the advantages, and the enjoyable stuff of the airline enterprise. E mail me:

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