March 7, 2014 - San Francisco became the first major city Tuesday to ban the sale of plastic water bottles on public property, building on a nationwide effort to curb the billion-dollar industry.
The nine-month in the making proposal by Board of Supervisors President David Chiu navigated through a number of challenging issues from the city's drinking water infrastructure to the impacts on events like the Folsom Street Fair or lower-key nonprofit events that often rely on the sales of the plastic water bottles for revenue.
Also, as the American Beverage Association opposed the restrictions staunch environmentalists were calling for tougher ones.
The ban phases out during then next four years 21 ounce or less plastic water bottles on city properties, both indoor or outdoor, impacting park vendors, food truck operators, street fairs and places like Moscone Center, The City's convention facility. Waivers are also permissible if an adequate alternative water source is not available.
It was not long ago that our world wasn't addicted to plastic water bottles," Chiu said. "It wasn't until the 1990s that the now $60 billion plastic bottle water industry experienced an enormous growth based on massive marketing and distribution campaigns.