Are Plastic Bottles the Next Big Target for Bans?
A number of U.S. cities and counties have passed legislation banning plastic bags, and others have bans in the works. The reasoning is straightforward: According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans generated 32 million tons of plastic waste in 2012, with a recycle rate of just 12 percent. All that waste is bad for the environment—and it's expensive.
But it's not all bags. Business Insider reported that the U.S. uses 30 billion plastic water bottles each year. And still, serious calls for water bottle bans have been few and far between, limited mostly to college and university campuses.
Bemidji State University, located in northern Minnesota, is the latest to enact such a ban. According to WDAZ-8, students voted in early February on a bill to stop the sale of plastic water bottles in all university facilities—except for the school's sports stadium—beginning in fall 2016. The bill passed unanimously, and if it is approved by the university's administration, Bemidji State would become the third Minnesota college to ban bottles.
It's a small addition to a small group of places with water bottle bans in place, but there may be bigger additions coming.
San Francisco has had a limited ban in place since October 2014, prohibiting bottled water sales on public property and at events where onsite water is available. According to KCBS San Francisco, the legislation also includes a provision banning the sale of water bottles on all streets and sidewalks by 2016. California was at the forefront of the plastic bag ban movement—in September 2014 it became the first to ban bags on a statewide level—and if more major California cities follow San Francisco's lead on water bottles, it might not be long before other cities do the same.
For now, this might not mean much for promotional products distributors. But it's worth keeping an eye on as a potential future source of drinkware sales opportunities.
Related story: San Francisco Proposes Bottled Water Ban