SFO to stop selling plastic water bottles, will continue to sell soda in plastic

Come August 20th, you will not be able to buy a bottle of water anywhere at San Francisco Airport unless that bottle is made of something other than disposable plastic such as metal or glass.

Passengers are already banned from bringing water bottles of any kind through airport security.

But no plastic bottles of water will be available after passengers have passed security.

"This new policy is really kind of one that supports our sustainability goals," said SFO Spokesman Doug Yakel.

So, what happens on August 20?

"You can still buy water at SFO but you'll be buying it in either a recyclable aluminum bottle or can, or recyclable glass bottle or an approved, compostable package," said Yakel.

SFO has also instructed restaurants, cafes, food stands and bars to provide only compassable straws, dishes, cups, utensils and condiments in packages.

"So really, this is the next step in terms of diverting products that would normally do into landfills," said Yakel.

Yes, plastic bottles, like aluminum cans, cardboard and other clean waste can be recycled as we saw at Recology's immense San Francisco recycling plant, but there's a problem.

Plastic bottles multiply quicker than rabbits, at an astounding rate and so much so, they're hard to get rid of because the market for them isn't very good anymore.

How much are we talking about, 500 billion of these every year, worldwide. 4 million a year at SFO and less that 25% of plastic water bottles are ever recycled.

Passengers we met like the change.

"I actually think it's a really positive mood. I'm really proud of the city of San Francisco and of California for being aware and taking some action to save our planet," said Debbie Dubois.

"We all know about plastic polluting the sea and I think also, it's waste of oil because oil is also needed to create pharmaceuticals and all this important stuff," said Axel Daum.

Despite all this, flavored waters and sodas, provided by politically powerful beverage companies, are exempted from the rule for now.

Also, today was the day a very new and unusual kind of custom coffee shop opened up at SFO's Terminal Three.

A robotic coffee maker, called Briggo Haus has already been operating at the airport serving Austin, Texas.

You can walk up and order right on the touch screen from a dazzling array of coffee special choices.

Or, order in advance on your smart phone with the Briggo app.

When you arrive, the coffee will be quickly made to your order to assure freshness and heat.

But, Yakel says human baristas need not worry.

"One of the things we hear loud and clear from customers is that they want more options for coffee, and we understand it because a lot of people have a very limited amount of time, and they may go to a favorite coffee location and if they see even a short line, they'll keep moving. Because of that, robotic coffee machines have real potential as many people dread the peak period long waits for their order to be processed by overwhelmed baristas.