If you plant on traveling out of, through, or to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) anytime soon, you won’t see plastic water bottles for sale. Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the airport authority that oversees LAX and Van Nuys Airport (VNY), banned single-use plastic water bottles. The reason for this is to encourage more sustainable travel. That said, bottled water served on aircrafts is exempt from the ban.
The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners approved this ban in June 2021; therefore, a two-year phase-out period has been in place. This period allowed vendors to sell out bottled water inventory and modify their purchasing contracts to fit with the new regulations. Now, all businesses with leases or concession agreements at LAX and VNY must use containers made from recyclable glass or aluminum. That means that you will see canned water and glass water bottles available at these airports from now on.
Why The Change To Plastic-Free Water Bottles?
As part of LA’s “Green New Deal,” LAX and VNY are contributing to making the city of Los Angeles carbon neutral by the year 2050. The Green New Deal aims to create zero-carbon transportation, buildings, and electricity, in addition to eliminating waste and sourcing water locally. LAWA also partnered with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to install hydration stations throughout LAX and VNY. More hydration stations provide passengers easier access to drinking water. It also incentivizes passengers to bring reusable water bottles to avoid buying canned water or glass bottled water.
Because LAX is one of the nations’ largest airports, it is a hub for three primary U.S. airlines. It also serves as a major international gateway, while VNY doesn’t have regularly scheduled commercial airline service. That said, VNY is a popular aviation airport in Southern California. Even Justin Erbacci, LAWA’s CEO, encouraged passengers to bring reusable water bottles to these airports. Eliminating single-use plastic water bottles helps to enhance sustainability efforts and promotes environmentalism across all airports.
LAX Is Not The First To Ban SIngle-Use Plastic Water Bottles
Although this is a great step in a more sustainable direction for LAX, it is not the first airport to enforce this ban. San Francisco International Airport (SFO) was the first to introduce this ban in August 2019. Since then, SFO expanded the ban to include sodas, teas, and juices in single-use plastic bottles. At this time, LAWA has not pursued efforts to that extent, but it may head down the same road in the future.
Karen Bass, the Mayor of Los Angeles, said that the ban of single-use plastic water bottles was essential to aid the city’s effort in combating climate change. Climate crisis is a serious issue that the city faces, and phasing out these single-use plastic water bottles aids sustainability. Bass encourages all Angelenos to aid these efforts to reduce the city’s environmental footprint. Not only does that help improve the livelihood of Angelenos, but it also encourages a better future for the environment.