LAWA prohibits SUP water bottle sales as it looks to more sustainable future

By Luke Barras-hill |

Passengers at LAX and VNY are being encouraged to bring reusable water bottles to the terminals and filling up at one of the many hydration stations. Source: LAWA.

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) has forbidden its vendors from selling single-use plastic (SUP) water bottles at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Van Nuys Airport (VNY).

The move feeds into the landlord’s sustainability plan to reduce SUP waste at the airports’ facilities and move towards zero waste.

“The climate crisis is a great challenge facing our city, 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,” stated Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass. “I want to thank LAWA for serving as a leader among airports around the world working to achieve a more sustainable future.”

In June 2021, the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners (BOAC) approved unanimously to phase out SUP water bottles by 30 June 2023.

The two-year period was to enable airport businesses to deplete their inventories of SUP water bottles and adjust purchasing contracts before switching to compliant products.

LAWA and businesses with lease or concession agreements at LAX and VNY are required to substitute SUP water bottles with containers made from sustainable alternatives, such as recyclable aluminium or glass.

July is expected to be the busiest month for LAX, with the peak summer travel month tipped to draw around seven million passengers. Source: LAWA.

Sustainability Action Plan goals

In addition to restaurants, concessions and lounges, the policy also applies to vending machine providers and airport events.

Pre-packaged SUP bottles of all sizes containing non-carbonated and unflavoured purified water, spring water, mineral water, artesian water, well water, tap water, and electrolyte-enhanced water are subject to the policy, though bottled water served onboard aircraft is exempt.

In anticipation of the ban on SUP water bottles, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power worked with LAWA to install additional drinking water hydration stations for passengers throughout LAX’s terminals.

“We encourage our guests to help us reach our goal of eliminating plastic waste at the airport by bringing a reusable water bottle and filling it up at one of our many hydration stations,” commented Justin Erbacci, Chief Executive Officer, LAWA. “Eliminating single-use plastic water bottles is essential to improving our environment and enhancing sustainability across our airports.”

LAWA’s Sustainability Action Plan, which includes strategies for LAX and VNY, has a goal for net zero in the following areas by 2045: no potable water consumed for non-potable uses; zero carbon emissions from LAWA operations; and using 100% renewable electricity.

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