First they came for the straws. Then they came for the disposable water bottles. Now San Franciscans, in the same city inundated by public feces and urine, are banning paper to-go cups in order to save the city from the environmental apocalypse.
Fox Business reports, “A growing number of coffee houses in San Francisco are banishing paper to-go cups and replacing them with everything from glass jars to rental mugs and BYO cup policies. What started as a small trend among neighborhood cafes to reduce waste is gaining support from some big names in the city’s food and coffee world.”
Some examples: the restaurant Atelier Crenn will eschew using to-go bags or disposable coffee cups next year; the Blue Bottle coffeehouse chain, which uses 15,000 to-go cups a month at its 70 U.S. locations, has stated it will “show our guests and the world that we can eliminate disposable cups,” and Starbucks has plans to test recyclable cups next year in San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Vancouver and London.
Peter Gallotta, spokesman for the city’s Department of Environment, stated, “It’s a movement not just happening in San Francisco but nationally and internationally. The larger elephant in the room is the single-use disposable culture we find ourselves in, and straws are the epitome of this unnecessary daily waste.”
Kerry Jackson, a research fellow at the Pacific Research Institute’s Center for California Reform, noted, “One percent of the plastic found in the ocean comes from California, meaning California can do whatever it wants to do, but it’s not going to change anything. Plastic straws are not dangerous to anybody, and they can be disposed of properly, which most people do,” as The Heartland Institute reported.
The ban went into effect July 1, 2019.
In August 2019, a ban on selling many single-use plastic water bottles at San Francisco International Airport went into effect. The ban was implemented based on a 2014 ordinance that banned selling disposable plastic bottles on city-owned property; the airport is owned by the city.
As NBC News reported, 58 million passengers go through SF International each year; 10,000 single use bottles are sold there every day, amounting to four million every year.
“Travelers lugged empty canisters through security. They refilled them at the airport’s more than 100 ‘hydration stations,’ the water dispensers mounted outside most bathrooms. The fountains had no lines early Tuesday morning,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
SFO spokesman Doug Yakel boasted to the Chronicle, “We’re the first airport that we’re aware of to implement this change, we’re on the leading edge for the industry, and we want to push the boundaries of sustainability initiatives.”