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LAX becomes 2nd major US airport to ban sale of single-use plastic water bottles

You’ll no longer be able to purchase bottled water at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

That’s because Los Angeles World Airports — the airport authority that oversees LAX and Van Nuys Airport (VNY) — is banning single-use plastic water bottles at the two airports to encourage sustainable travel. Bottled water served on aircraft is exempt from the ban.

The ban comes after a two-year phase-out period that the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners approved in June 2021. The timing of the move allowed vendors at the airports to sell out their bottled water inventory and modify their purchasing contracts before making the switch.

The effort is part of LA’s “Green New Deal,” a sweeping plan to make the city carbon neutral by 2050. It seeks to do so by creating zero-carbon transportation, buildings and electricity, as well as by eliminating waste and sourcing water locally.

Now, all businesses with leases or concession agreements at the two LA airports must use containers made from recyclable aluminum or glass.

LAWA also collaborated with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to install hydration stations throughout LAX and VNY. This will give passengers easier access to drinking water now that buying bottled water is no longer an option.

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LAX is one of the nation’s busiest airports; it’s a hub for all “Big Three” U.S. airlines and a major international gateway. VNY has no regularly scheduled commercial airline service, but it’s a popular general aviation airport in Southern California.

Justin Erbacci, LAWA’s CEO, said guests should bring reusable water bottles to the airports.

“Eliminating single-use plastic water bottles is essential to improving our environment and enhancing sustainability across our airports,” he said in a statement.

The two LA airports are not the first to ban single-use water bottles. San Francisco International Airport (SFO) was the first to announce such a ban, in August 2019.

Since then, SFO’s ban has expanded to include sodas, teas and juices in single-use plastic packaging. It’s unclear if LAWA will eventually head down the same path.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said LAWA’s ban was essential in the city’s efforts to combat climate change.

“The climate crisis is a great challenge facing our city,” Bass said in a statement, “and phasing out single-use plastic water bottles at LAWA facilities is an important step to reducing our environmental footprint and protecting the health and livelihood of all Angelenos.”

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