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Zero Waste Concessions

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touchless water stations

In order to reduce the Airport’s impact on the environment, and to advance the Airport’s Zero Waste Goal, SFO is expanding its current Zero Waste Concessions Program and City and County of San Francisco’s Plastic, Litter, and Toxics Reduction Law to shift our business partners towards the following:

•    Transitioning away from single-use plastic food service ware and food service ware accessories.
•    Limiting when food service ware accessories may be provided.
•    Requiring the use of a minimum amount of reusable cups at large events.
•    Requiring single-use and reusable beverage bottles to be recyclable aluminum, glass or BPI-certified compostable.  

This new standard (via Rule 8.14) requires tenants to use reusable or BPI certified-compostable food service ware and accessories, which can be recovered and composted in domestic markets. In addition to reducing the impacts on the natural environment, this transition will make food service ware safer for use and simplify and improve the passenger dining experience.


1)    Food Service Ware and Food Service Ware Accessories Requirements: Effective March 31st, 2019

Tenants are encouraged to use reusable food service ware whenever possible. Tenants may only use single-use food service ware and accessories that meet the following criteria:

  • Certified compostable by the Biodegradable Product Institute (BPI) or made entirely of natural fiber such as paper, wood, or bamboo
  • Labelled “compostable” with green color coding
  • Fluorinated Chemical free.


Please review Zero Waste Concessions Guide and Approved Single-Use Food Service Ware Product List for details on compliant products. 

All Food Ware Accessories:

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kids drinking 524

Food ware accessories can only be provided when customers request them or at self-service stations. Straws may only be provided upon request, made of only natural fibers such as paper or bamboo. Understanding that individuals may require plastic straws for medical reasons, tenants may provide single-use plastic straws to individuals who specifically request them.

Impacted food ware accessories include, but are not limited to:

chopsticks lids spill sticks
condiment packets and portion cups napkins stirrers and sticks
cup sleeves utensils straws


2)    Events: Reusable Beverage Cups: Effective March 31, 2019:
Tenants providing beverages at Airport events with 100 or more attendees must make reusable beverage cups available to no less than 10% of attendees.  Tenants may also encourage attendees to bring their own reusable beverage cup. 

3)    Beverage Requirements: Effective April 1, 2021:

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Airport tenants, vendors, vending machines, and permittees may not provide or sell beverages of any kind in containers of plastic or aseptic paper packaging of any size. Reusable and single-use beverage bottles sold or provided at SFO must be made with recyclable aluminum, glass, and BPI certified-compostable.

Beverages means consumable drinks in a sealed box, bag, can, bottle, or other container of any size.  Beverages include, but are not limited to, alcohol, coffee, energy drinks, milk, soy milk, nut milk, juice, soda, soft drinks, sports drinks, tea, yogurt drinks, water, carbonated water, and flavored water. 

Please review the Zero Waste Concessions Guide and SFO Approved Water Bottle List for details on compliant products and contact the Airport’s Sustainability & Environmental Team at sustainability@flysfo.com if you have any questions and feedback.

Check out SFO's Video on getting Zero Waste:


Resources: 

SFO Approved Bottled Water List
Rules and Regulation Rule 8.14 Food Service Requirements 

COVID Guidance
In addition to following these Airport and City requirements, refilling a consumer’s drinking cup is allowed without contact between the pouring utensil and the lip-contact area of the cup under California Health and Safety Code § 114075.