Major Airports Suddenly Banning Plastic Water Bottles

You won't find them in some terminals.

Most of us are well aware that we can't bring bottled water through airport security unless the bottle is empty. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) limits passengers from bringing liquids in containers that are larger than 3.4 ounces, so many of us have no choice but to pay for an overpriced bottle of water after we get through the security line. But now, even that is no longer an option everywhere. Read on to find out why some major airports are banning plastic water bottles altogether.

RELATED: TSA Issues New Alert on What You Can't Bring Through Security.

San Francisco International Airport banned water bottles back in 2019.

San Francisco International Airport, San Mateo County, California, USA August 9, 2016. Passengers getting dropped off at the International Terminal of SFO (San Francisco International Airport).
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If you've ever had trouble finding a water bottle to buy at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), there's a reason. In 2019, SFO became the first airport in the world to ban plastic water bottles. Then in April 2021, the airport expanded its policy to prohibit the sale of any beverages—including sodas, teas, and juices—packaged in plastic bottles.

"This is a significant moment in our goal to achieve zero waste going into landfill," SFO Airport Director Ivar C. Satero said in a statement at the time. "We took a very important first step two years ago, and today we take the next step towards a plastic-free future."

With that in mind, you won't find any bottled water or beverages in single-use plastic or aseptic paper packaging at SFO anymore. Instead, suppliers are only allowed to sell drinks that come in either recyclable aluminum, recyclable glass, or compostable packaging, according to the SFO website.

RELATED: The 7 Worst Things to Buy at the Airport, According to Experts.

Now another major city is doing the same thing.

Traveler backpack man in front of a drinks and food window store. People and travel lifestyle buying some drinks and sandwiches before start the trip. Concept of automatic machine shop station
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San Francisco is no longer on its own with this airport ban. As of June 30, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is also prohibiting the sale of single-use plastic water bottles, according to a post from the official LAX Facebook page.

The Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) Board of Airport Commissioners approved the ban back in June 2021, but a two-year phase-out period was required first to allow vendors to sell out the remainder of their bottled water inventory, and to change their purchasing contracts, The Points Guy reported.

LAWA also oversees the nearby non-commercial Van Nuys Airport (VNY), and the agency has extended the water bottle ban to this airport as well. So all businesses with leases or concession agreements at either of the two Los Angels airports will be required to use containers made from recyclable aluminum or glass, according to The Points Guy.

"Eliminating single-use plastic water bottles is the right thing to do for our airports, our communities, and our environment," Justin Erbacci, CEO of LAWA, told local news outlet KTLA.

RELATED: 8 Airport Security Secrets TSA Doesn't Want You to Know.

This decision was made as part of a larger Los Angeles initiative.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, USA - MAY 22, 2019: The Los Angeles International Airport with its streets, entrances and exits. In the foreground is the LAX-sign. Captured from above.
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LAWA officials are looking to reduce plastic waste at its airports with this water bottle ban—which will also help the agency's Sustainability Action Plan to achieve "zero waste" at LAX and VNY by 2045.

But the new rules play a part in a larger citywide initiative as well. In 2019, Los Angeles launched a sustainability city plan called the Green New Deal. This initiative intends to lead the world toward a "low-carbon, green-energy future" by achieving zero carbon emissions in Los Angeles by 2050.

"The climate crisis is a great challenge facing our city, and phasing out single-use plastic water bottles at Los Angeles World Airports facilities is an important step to reducing our environmental footprint and protecting the health and livelihood of all Angelenos," Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said in a statement.

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Travelers are being encouraged to bring reusable water bottles.

Hand of a traveler pressed the button of drinking water filling station at the Airport, Refill, Reusable bottle. Eco friendly, Environmental awareness, Clean water, Zero waste, Plastic free july.
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The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) recently worked in partnership with LAWA to install 60 new hydration stations through LAX's terminals, KTLA reported. This was done "in anticipation of the ban on single-use plastic water bottles," as officials are now pushing for travelers to start bringing their own bottles to reduce waste, according to LAWA.

"We encourage our guests to help us reach our goal of eliminating plastic waste at the airport by bringing a reusable water bottle and filling it up at one of our many hydration stations," Erbacci said. "Eliminating single-use plastic water bottles is essential to improving our environment and enhancing sustainability across our airports."

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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