Plastic Water Bottle Ban Proposed for San Francisco

By:  Bob Adelmann
Plastic Water Bottle Ban Proposed for San Francisco

While statists in San Francisco, California, and Concord, Massachusetts, are determined to change people's behavior through force, the free market is quietly solving the plastic water bottle crisis.

The popular three-term president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, David Chiu, unveiled his proposal December 17 that would ban the sale of plastic water bottles on city property. Initially the ban would apply only to sites where there are already alternative water sources such as drinking fountains, but it would eventually apply to all events on San Francisco property. By 2016 the ban would also apply to outside vendors as well.

Chiu declared,

The city shouldn't be deriving revenue from something that is such an environmentally bad practice....

Given that San Franciscans can access clean and inexpensive Hetch Hetchy [Reservoir] water out of our taps, we need to wean ourselves off our recent addiction to plastic water bottles. [Emphasis added.]

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

Chiu floated his proposal earlier this year, taking his cue from similar legislation enacted in January in Concord, Massachusetts, which stated simply: “It shall be unlawful to sell non-sparkling, unflavored drinking water in single-serving polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles of 1 liter (34 ounces) or less in the Town of Concord on or after January 1, 2013.” A first offense there will result in a warning, a second will cost the criminal imbiber $25, and a third fine (and thereafter as necessary until behavior has been modified) will be $50.

In Concord some businesses are doing a thriving business selling PET water bottles of 35 ounces, while other customers are just walking to nearby Acton or Bedford where authorities don’t yet criminalize their citizens for drinking water from plastic bottles.

The Concord law was the result of the determined effort of octogenarian activist Jean Hill, who told the New York Times back in 2010: “I’m going to work on this until I drop.” Hill had determined that legislation was the only way to change people's behavior:

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