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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