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San Francisco Bans Sales, Distribution of Plastic Water Bottles
March 9, 2014

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San Francisco has declared a further moratorium on plastic, this time going after water bottles.

The city government has voted to ban the sale and distribution of such bottles on municipal property. More than 100 other American cities have stopped using municipal money to buy plastic water bottles, but San Francisco is the first major city to stop the sale of such bottles on its city-owned property. (Concord, Mass., was the first American city to do so, in 2012.)

Once Mayor Ed Lee signs the legislation, it will apply to bottles holding 21 ounces or fewer of water and will have a sort of grandfather clause effect, in that it will apply only to new leases and permits. The ordinance takes effect on October 1 for indoor events and in 2016 for outdoor events. Notably, the legislation gives a standing exemption to public sporting events. In addition, the city will make exceptions for areas that have restricted access to public water, but only until October 2016.

At the state level, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New York, and Vermont have voted to stop using public money to buy plastic water bottles. Similar efforts are under way at many of the country's colleges and universities. Fourteen national parks have enacted similar bans.

San Francisco banned plastic bags from large grocery stores in 2007. Further efforts in that area have resulted in similar bans in stores (in 2012) and in restaurants (in 2013). China embarked on a similar effort in 2008.

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