wave.jpgSan Francisco is going BYOB. Bottled water, that is.

San Francisco has already banned the sale of soda from vending machines on city property, and is now considering a ban on bottled water too! The city is proposing a restriction on selling bottled water at all events on city property, including festivals, park events, street festivals, etc. as part of the city’s zero-waste campaign. This proposal would also affect concerts or parades with city “use agreements” where alcohol consumption is widespread.

City officials have been discussing selling (or, hopefully, giving away) reusable water bottles and providing water fountains/tanks to refill them as a viable alternative. While giving away swanky new Sigg bottles are probably out of the city’s budget, according to the Pacific Institute, producing bottles of water for American consumption required the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil, not including the energy for transportation in 2006.

San Francisco isn’t alone on the anti-water bottle campaign streak. Concord, Massachusetts recently voted to ban the sale of bottled water in the entire town. That decision was overturned by the state’s Attorney General, who commented that the ban “does not constitute a valid bylaw subject to the attorney general’s review and approval.”

While many applaud the city’s environmentally progressive stand, the ban’s not getting universal acclaim — SF Weekly calls it “heavy handed,” and Tom Lauria, spokesman for the International Bottled Water Association, tells the Examiner that the proposal would “compromise people’s health in public situations when they’re thirsty.”

Do you think this ban is taking things too far? We’d like to hear your opinion.

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  • Xenu

    I’d worry the outcomes here would be:

    1. No water sales = free water = no sales tax on water sales
    2. Disposable cups, which are better for the environment than bottles, but still create waste

  • Xenu

    I’d worry the outcomes here would be:

    1. No water sales = free water = no sales tax on water sales
    2. Disposable cups, which are better for the environment than bottles, but still create waste

  • toddx

    These water bottles should unionize and then they would be in a real position to bargain with the BoS.

  • toddx

    These water bottles should unionize and then they would be in a real position to bargain with the BoS.

  • allysoneb

    I was just thinking this morning that the next big landfill problem is going to be from people throwing out all the free tote bags and reusable mugs that businesses are giving out as part of this zero-waste movement.

  • allysoneb

    I was just thinking this morning that the next big landfill problem is going to be from people throwing out all the free tote bags and reusable mugs that businesses are giving out as part of this zero-waste movement.

  • Justine Quart

    perhaps simply having more clean and stylish water fountains available in public areas would encourage more people not to buy bottled water during events.
    http://www3.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Public+Drinking+Fountain+Unvelied+Reduce+Use+Hp8PQLzfatUl.jpg

  • Justine Quart

    perhaps simply having more clean and stylish water fountains available in public areas would encourage more people not to buy bottled water during events.
    http://www3.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Public+Drinking+Fountain+Unvelied+Reduce+Use+Hp8PQLzfatUl.jpg

  • Sarah Fidelibus

    Justine-

    I used to “water up” at water fountains along my run in GGP…till one day when I saw three pigeons crammed into the “bowl” of the fountain, with one rubbing his neck on the spout. If that’s what the birds are doing to those fountains, I’ll carry my water bottle with me, thanks.

    For what it’s worth: I also have a friend who had Mono a few years back, and her doctor told her in all seriousness that you can contract Mono from a drinking fountain (I guess if someone with Mono drools on the spout and then you drink water that comes up through that spout). Between the pigeons and the potential Mono, I am off drinking fountains for life.

    However, I am totally in favor of the ban. The fact that we are a country that buys and sells water in the first place is ridiculous to me–anyone seen that H2O documentary? SF water tastes too much of chlorine to me (other people I know don’t think so, but to me the water from the tap tastes like a pool), so I filter through a Brita pitcher and bring water with me in my own bottle. Most people I know do the same.

    Xenu–is there tax on water? CA sales tax law is a complicated and tangled web, but the last time I bought bottled water (a few months ago, when I bought a bottle for a colleague at the campus cafe), I don’t remember being taxed. At the grocery store, you generally are not taxed for food items, and take-away beverages are not–I don’t think–ever taxed. Considering the scenarios outline by the article, I don’t think we’d be missing out on any sales tax revenue.

  • Sarah Fidelibus

    Justine-

    I used to “water up” at water fountains along my run in GGP…till one day when I saw three pigeons crammed into the “bowl” of the fountain, with one rubbing his neck on the spout. If that’s what the birds are doing to those fountains, I’ll carry my water bottle with me, thanks.

    For what it’s worth: I also have a friend who had Mono a few years back, and her doctor told her in all seriousness that you can contract Mono from a drinking fountain (I guess if someone with Mono drools on the spout and then you drink water that comes up through that spout). Between the pigeons and the potential Mono, I am off drinking fountains for life.

    However, I am totally in favor of the ban. The fact that we are a country that buys and sells water in the first place is ridiculous to me–anyone seen that H2O documentary? SF water tastes too much of chlorine to me (other people I know don’t think so, but to me the water from the tap tastes like a pool), so I filter through a Brita pitcher and bring water with me in my own bottle. Most people I know do the same.

    Xenu–is there tax on water? CA sales tax law is a complicated and tangled web, but the last time I bought bottled water (a few months ago, when I bought a bottle for a colleague at the campus cafe), I don’t remember being taxed. At the grocery store, you generally are not taxed for food items, and take-away beverages are not–I don’t think–ever taxed. Considering the scenarios outline by the article, I don’t think we’d be missing out on any sales tax revenue.