Passport, check. Boarding pass, check. Neck pillow, check. Noise-cancelling headphones so you don’t have to overhear whatever garbage your neighbor is watching, check. Enormous bottle of overpriced water — nope, not anymore, if you’re flying from the San Francisco Airport (SFO). Air travel already requires a pretty long checklist, and the airport has decided that you’ll need to add ‘reusable water bottles’ to that, if you want to avoid landing at your destination feeling dried out and thirsty.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that effective from August 20th, the airport is banning the sale of single-use plastic water bottles, including from vending machines and restaurants. Travelers will either have to bring their own reusable bottle, or splash out on one at the airport. However, they will still be able to buy flavored water, sodas and juice in plastic bottles, at least for now. To help keep travelers hydrated without resorting to a last-minute purchase of a big bottle of water, SFO have installed 100 wall-mounted ‘hydration stations’ since 2011, which are spread around the terminals, with plans to add more as the airport expands.
Starting August 20, #SFO stores can no longer sell water in plastic bottles.— San Francisco International Airport (SFO) ✈️ (@flySFO) August 6, 2019
✔️ Bring your own bottle: SFO has 100+ hydration stations for free filtered water.
✔️ Pre-filled water can still be sold in aluminum, glass or compostable bottles.https://t.co/Jj3H7tXSNA
SFO are pretty hyped to be the first airport to make this move against plastics.
Their spokesman, Doug Yakel, said, “We’re the first airport that we’re aware of to implement this change. We’re on the leading edge for the industry, and we want to push the boundaries of sustainability initiatives.”
A single plastic bottle takes 500-1000 years to break down. 😬 That's why we're prohibiting the sale of plastic bottled water. Bring your own bottle next time you #FlySFO and fill up at one of SFO's 100+ hydration stations. https://t.co/qH7dQGAPNx— San Francisco International Airport (SFO) ✈️ (@flySFO) August 3, 2019
Some travelers are on board.
The airport’s decision elicited positive responses.
Kudos to #SF for taking action to cut SF's carbon footprint by targeting single use #plastic. New law effective Aug 20 bans sale of bottled water at SFO, encouraging travelers to BYO #reusable water bottle. @devopsworldconf @VMworld @oracleopenworld | https://t.co/rLdlpSNjON pic.twitter.com/rDVqzNhtBI— Moscone Center (@MosconeCenter) August 7, 2019
*Insert praise hands emoji.*
Although some are more reserved with their congrats than others.
But every little helps!
The ban even inspired unintentional spontaneous poetry.
Travelers are already stocking up.
new reusable water bottle acquired, no more single-use plastic bottles while traveling \o/ — and it's purple 💜😍💜— Jenny | @email@example.com (@EvilScientress) August 6, 2019
It also will be very handy whw I'll be in SFO in a couple weeks, where the airport just banned plastic water bottles. 👍 pic.twitter.com/y81WHFFhc8
This seems like a no-brainer to some.
As plastic comes under increasing scrutiny, reusable water bottles have already become more popular.
Woohoo! My real question though, is how do people not travel with a reusable water bottle already? "Don’t forget to pack your reusable bottle the next time you fly through SFO." https://t.co/rBw28FG1iK via @AFARMedia #sustainability #reducereuserecycle— Ashley Whitlatch (@Ashley_MW) August 6, 2019
Some see this as a simple solution.
But for others, a full-on ban on plastic water bottles feels extreme.
It reminds some people of the smoking ban — something most people now take for granted.
San Francisco SFO airport becomes first to enact plastic water bottle ban— LINK App ⚖️ (@MobileHelix) August 6, 2019
Seems radical. But I remember when banning smoking in restaurants and bars was radical, too. https://t.co/8osHNzJPPC
However, some welcome a policy that will force them to change their environmentally dubious habits.
The airport is the last place I still (terribly) buy single use plastic water bottles. This is excellent for forcing me to change my behavior. SFO's plastic water bottle ban: What travelers need to know https://t.co/Q3Gfii958R— Pi James (@Pi_James) August 3, 2019
Not everyone is seeing the bright side.
Some travelers find it strange that this means the only drinks passengers will be able to buy will be those that contain sugar…
Starting August 20, you will only be able to buy water in a plastic bottle at SFO if the water contains sugar or some other flavoring. https://t.co/RPVrTQuTOT— Paul Graham (@paulg) August 3, 2019
Others are even suspicious…
There may be technical challenges, too.
One Twitter user is skeptical about whether those hydration stations will live up to demand.
Other people were not happy about having to drink airport tap water.
Exactly. It might seem like a trivial thing to people but I drink a lot of water, especially on planes. I’m not filling my own water bottle from their stupid water filling station. pic.twitter.com/Nb0gkDGlp3— Coco (@coco_bean88) August 7, 2019
And some say that they can’t for health reasons.
Does no one see this is ALSO an accessibility issue??? There are a lot of health and personal-care reasons that someone might *need* to purchase bottled water in the airport versus having reusable bottles on their person while undertaking air travel. https://t.co/5IwTlaH7Q9— Erika (@elevatedMn) August 5, 2019
Overall, the response was positive, but it’s easy to be pro-plastic ban when you’re not facing a nine-hour plane journey with no hydration because you forgot to pack your water bottle. SFO are hoping this will take off smoothly — but they could be in for a bumpy ride.