SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco moved to restrict the sale of plastic water bottles on city property on Tuesday, the first such action by a major US municipality and the latest in a string of waste-reduction measures that included a ban on plastic grocery bags.
The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to begin phasing out the sale and distribution of water in single-use plastic bottles on city-owned or leased land next fall, and to ban future water bottle purchases with city funds.
"There are incredible, enormous environmental costs of plastic water bottles," said Supervisor David Chiu, who introduced the measure. "It takes 1,000 years for a typical plastic water bottle to biodegrade."
Numerous cities in California and other states, including Maui County and a number of Hawaiian municipalities, have made it illegal for grocery stores to pack consumer purchases in plastic bags, and a bill recently introduced in the state legislature would extend such bans statewide.
San Francisco appears to be the first to try to steer consumers away from using disposable water bottles, which environmentalists say fill landfills and wash out to sea as trash just as grocery bags do.