San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is launching a war on plastic water bottles. Starting this week, single-use plastic water bottles are no longer being sold at the airport. The new ban includes both vendors and vending machines.

If you want to quench your thirst with H2O, you’ll have two options. You can purchase water in recyclable aluminum, recyclable glass or compostable packaging, or you can fill a reusable container at an airport hydration station. Approximately 100 of them are scattered throughout the terminals. For the location of stations, consult the interactive map.

The hydration stations are part of the airport’s initiative to become the world’s first zero-waste airport by 2021. It’s a bold move and one that’s good for the environment considering one bottle can take 450-1,000 years to biodegrade.

a man in a suit standing at a water fountain

Touch-free, sensor-operated hydration stations are located throughout San Francisco International Airport. Photo courtesy of

Safe and Pure Water

Now, you’ll find some of the purest, safest and best-tasting water in the world at SFO, according to the airport. Hydration station water comes from pristine Sierra snowmelt from a reservoir in Yosemite National Park and from two protected watersheds in the Bay Area. It will make you thankful that you’ve forgotten bottled water and those high prices you paid for it.

Saying Goodbye to Lots of Waste

CNN reports that SFO produces more than 28 million pounds of waste each year, including about 10,000 single-use plastic water bottles. That adds up to roughly 4 million bottles a year!
Earlier this year, SFO moved away from single-use, plastic cutlery and food-service items. Travelers will still be able to purchase soft drinks, iced tea, coffee and other beverages in plastic bottles for the time being.
a map of an airport

An interactive map shows you where to find the most convenient water fill-up spots.

Cover image of plastic bottles by Willfried Wende from Pixabay