SLO City Council plans ban on single-use plastic bottles
In an effort to decrease the use of single-use plastic bottles, the San Luis Obispo City Council has opted to move forward with regulations for the sale and distribution of all single-use plastic bottles on city property and at permitted special events. The city also decided to restrict the use of city funds to purchase plastic water and soda bottles and to increase the number of water bottle filling stations available within the city.
While no final action was taken during a study session Tuesday night, the council’s decision set into motion a process to collect additional public feedback before implementing any new policies.
The council had previously directed city staff to conduct research on communities, including San Francisco, which have regulated water bottle usage and added water bottle filling stations. Tuesday’s study session was designed to review the options available and help the council provide specific policy direction.
The council also directed the staff to work with the public to determine appropriate phasing of policies and any exemptions that should be provided.
In San Luis Obispo, more than 13 million bottles were purchased by the public in fiscal year 2015-16 and only 41 percent were recycled, according to an estimate from CalRecycle.
In 2014, San Francisco restricted the sale of bottled water on city/county property (including facilities, parks, streets, sidewalks) and events held on city/county property. San Francisco then increased the availability of drinking water in public areas by adding drinking fountains and water bottle-filling stations.
The direction provided in San Luis Obispo Tuesday night would expand that to include plastic bottles of all types, including soda and juice bottles. Some water bottle filling stations are already located in city buildings and parks, and the new policies would seek to expand that as feasible.
Staff anticipates returning to the council in summer 2017 with proposed regulations.
The staff report for the January 3rd city council Study Session is available on the city’s website.
Related: Ban the Bottle