Blog 14.7.2012 Comments Off on New Water Idea!

San Francisco, the city that regulated Happy Meal toys and banned plastic grocery bags, has a new target in its health-conscious, eco-friendly crosshairs: plastic water bottles.

City officials are considering an ordinance that would require owners of new and renovated buildings with water fountains to install special bottle-filling taps. The law’s designed to encourage thirsty people to refill containers instead of reaching for another bottle of Evian or Aquafina.

“This is the appropriate next step to make it easier for San Franciscans to get out of the bad habit of using environmentally wasteful plastic water bottles and into the good habit of using reusable water containers,” said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who introduced the legislation in June.

Bottle-filling taps like the ones that would be required if Chiu’s measure passes already are found at San Francisco International Airport and at some city parks and schools. Installed behind a drinking fountain’s regular faucet, they dispense chilled water in a quick-streaming vertical jet that is high enough to accommodate most water containers.

Advocates say having bottle-specific spigots encourages the reuse of water bottles by eliminating long waits to fill them and removing concerns about germs. Some people squirm at the thought of drinking from a fountain exposed to so many mouths, although city officials say water fountains are no less hygienic than bottle taps.

Skeptics question whether the ordinance is necessary, since the proposed taps pour the same highly-regarded public water that comes out of every other faucet and drinking fountain. Businesses often complain that San Francisco lawmakers are too quick to impose bans or restrictions that affect their bottom lines.

“If you are in an office, your kitchen has a sink, the sink has a faucet and that faucet puts out Hetch Hetchy (reservoir) water,” San Francisco Building Owners and Managers Association representative Ken Cleaveland said. “It’s just one more new law that San Francisco is implementing on top of hundreds of other laws to make, rather force, compliance in sustainable practices.”

Despite initial skepticism, the association is waiting for more details before taking a stance on the law

Adding a bottled-water spigot to existing water fountains would cost at least around $750, according to manufacturers.

Photo: Help us reduce plastic consumption by using a refillable water bottle and using our new water fountain/refill station in the lobby of Yosemite Lodge at the Falls. We're up to 3340 1-L bottles saved since June 25, 2012.

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