SF water bottle ban heads for Board vote

San Francisco’s ongoing war against plastic cleared a key hurdle Monday when a proposal banning plastic water bottles on public property moved on to a vote from the full Board of Supervisors.

First introduced last December by Board of Supervisors president David Chiu, Monday’s revised proposal would ban the sales of plastic bottles 21 fluid ounces or less on public property, including those sold by mobile food operators, park vendors and those sold at street fairs.

No businesses outside of public property would be affected by the ban.

Following in the footsteps of  The City’s 2007 ban on plastic bags, the newest proposal is another way San Francisco has aimed to cut back on the use of plastic, a material that accounted for 32 million tons of waste in 2011 according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The proposal aims to have positive ecological benefits, though it is being met with concern regarding the financial impacts the law could have on popular events like the Folsom Street Fair, San Francisco Pride or other popular public gatherings that derive income from water sales.

Other concerns include questions over adequate accessibility to public water fountains and refill stations for participants of events.

Supervisor Scott Wiener, who stands opposed to the current draft of the proposal, voiced his opinion to the San Francisco Examiner:

“I think that definitely moves in the right direction. … I think it’s critical that those issues be addressed in the legislation so that we are not banning distribution of water bottles and just pulling the rug out without providing really strong alternatives.”

Also opposed to the law is the American Beverage Association, who believes the law will have a negative affect on both businesses and the public.

Commissioner of The City’s Environment Commission, Ruth Gravanis, told the Ex that the ban still has ways to go before being implemented.

“It’s kind of a first step in a long process. Here we are only talking about city property. And there are many ways to get exemptions and exceptions.But for now we are recognizing the fact that we cannot insist on a ban where we don’t have an available supply of water.”