Bottled Water Group Argues Against Proposed Ban, Says Consumers Will Resort To Sugary, Caffeinated Drinks

The sale of plastic water bottles on city property could soon be banned under a proposal introduced Tuesday by a San Francisco supervisor.

The proposal by Board of Supervisors president David Chiu would initially apply only to events that have access to adequate on-site water, but by late 2016 would apply to all events on San Francisco property besides foot races and other sporting events.

Chiu said the legislation is necessary to address the excess waste created by plastic water bottles. His office says trash collectors pick up 10 to 15 million single-use plastic water bottles each year in San Francisco.

“Given that San Franciscans can access clean and inexpensive Hetch Hetchy water out of our taps, we need to wean ourselves off our recent addiction to plastic water bottles,” Chiu said in a statement.

“I hope San Francisco can again lead the way, by drinking water without harming the environment or the bottom line,” he said.

The proposal would require that drinking fountains, filling stations and other water hook-ups be installed when there is a renovation of a heavily used public park or plaza, and would ban the purchase of plastic bottled water with city funds.

The legislation is co-sponsored by Supervisor Eric Mar and supported by various environmental groups, but the business group International Bottled Water Association issued a statement today in opposition to the proposal.

The group said it “supports the right of San Franciscans to choose clean, refreshing, reliable zero-calorie bottled water when making their beverage decisions.”

The group said, “Efforts to eliminate or reduce access to bottled water will force consumers to choose less healthy drink options that have more packaging, more additives (e.g., sugar, caffeine), and greater environmental impacts than bottled water.”

The proposal will likely have its first public hearing at a Board of Supervisors committee meeting in late January, according to Chiu’s office.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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  • MadlyBranning

    Aside from whether this ban is a good idea, the installation of more (and better) water fountains is desperately needed in San Francisco. As an avid walker I can tell you that there are stretches in San Francisco where there is no water fountain – or one that is so grungy you wouldn’t drink from it. In North Beach for example, there is only one measly dumpy drinking fountain at Washington Square. When I suggested to my 9 year old son that he drink from it (our water bottle was empty) he looked at me and said “Drink from that? No way.” Also the fountains should be fitted as filling stations as well: there is nothing as frustrating as trying to fill a water bottle from a drinking fountain which is set up so that you can’f fill the bottle more than halfway. When going for a walk I have literally had no choice but to buy bottled water as there is no drinking fountain anywhere (although the Boulange always has a nice water tank…though I feel a bit awkward using it if i’m not a customer). So i’m pro water, anti-bottle, but we need more drinking fountains!!

  • citi-zen

    Why not start with a carrot rather then the stick? Ensure there are filling stations, ensure that any food /beverage service at City Property can & will happily fill personal water bottles; ensure that people can get into a venue or event with their own bottle that may already HAVE water in it; but don’t penalize those that don’t go everywhere with their personal bottle! Sometimes, a single use bottle is the simplest solution. Sometimes, filling a personal re-usable bottle is what works! Banning water bottle sales is just crazy. They tried it at the America’s Cup (while selling $40 personal bottles) & it just pissed people off instead of educating & encouraging. Start the ball rolling; don’t end up on the comedy shows as “weird San Francisco” again! PS to Madly – there is a new filling station/water fountain by the Marina Office at Scott/Marina Blvd & it’s so cool! You can get just a drink or you can easily fill most size water bottles! Hopefully we’ll see many more of these around town.

  • PB

    Why not require that all water be sold in gold or titanium bottles? Supervisor Chiu, how about spending your ‘valuable’ time on things that are important to people who live here…. The City’s road system is falling apart, the bus system uses out of date equipment, the City payroll is bloated, and the City’s debt. Deal with these things before trying to impose your values on taxpayers who pay your salary. If you can’t deal with the City’s serious problems, maybe you should seek new employment.

  • MaureenABA

    Exactly right that politicians should focus on important matters such as infrastructure, the economy, safety, education – rather than attempting to ban and restrict common, everyday items. Bottled water offers a convenient choice for people on the go to stay healthy and hydrated, and restricting access to this option is unwarranted and unwelcome. Not to mention the fact that once politicians start limiting access to things like bottled water, what’s to stop them from regulating all kinds of items? Where does this dictatorial style of policy making begin and end?

    -Maureen Beach, American Beverage Association