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City Moves Closer to Plastic Bag Ban

Several councilmembers favored the countywide approach rather than bans adopted on a city-by-city basis.

The City Council took the initial steps towards adopting a plastic bag ban during Tuesday night's meeting.

"I think this is a very environmentally responsible thing for us to do," said Councilmember Charlie Bronitsky.

"Now that everyone is getting on board, we all realize something needs to be done," said Councilmember Pam Frisella.

The proposed ordinance is being suggested at the county level.

"San Mateo County, through its Environmental Health Department, is spearheading an effort to enact a regional ordinance that would ban the distribution of single use plastic bags and require businesses to charge a fee for recycled-content paper bags," said a report from the City. 

The Council was not required to pass a resolution to ban bags at last night's meeting; rather they were only asked to authorize the City Manager to issue the a letter of intent to join San Mateo County and other cities as a “participating agency” in the preparation and issuance of an Environmental Impact Report. The motion carried 5-0-0.

Several councilmembers favored the countywide approach rather than bans adopted on a city-by-city basis.

"I think it's a really good idea because it demonstrates the need for regionalization," said Councilmember Steve Okomoto. "It's important to avoid confusion for the consumer."

"I think this the kind of issue that needs to come from a collective group of cities," said Mayor Art Kiesel. "It makes a lot of sense to have a unified effort."

A similar ordinance is currently in effect in San Jose, and another is expected to be implemented in Millbrae later this year.

"In order to reduce the impact of single use bags and encourage the use of reusable bags, ordinances banning the use of single use plastic bags and requiring that customers pay for paper bags are becoming more common throughout the area," said City Analyst Andra Lorenz.

If passed by the county and individual cities in the fall of this year, the proposed county ordinance would go into effect Jan. 1, 2013.

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Troy February 23, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Doesn't make any sense. It's like flicking one flea off a dog. Why not ban all the products in the stores like bottled water, sports drinks, the plastic they use to package fresh meats and everything else that involves plastic packaging. There's even plastics that Recology won't recycle, such as black plastic microwave containers because of the dye. Why aren't we going after the really bad gross offenders that are impacting our environment and fill our landfills and dirty our streets instead of a plastic bag that many of us use to line our trash cans with and can be recycled?
Phyllis McArthur February 23, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Agreed, the Parks and Rec Dept in Foster City uses rather heavy plastic poop bags at the dog park, thousands of those bags go to landfills each month, just from our FC dog park. A clerk in a local retail store told me that she careful when someone brings in one of their own cloth bags, because (sometimes) they are rather filthy. She went on to say that she was putting groceries in a cloth bag someone brought in and it smelled like mold. Zack, I too recycle plasic bags from the grocery store, by using them to line small bathroom waste baskets, carrying items to a picnic or using them to store earthquake kit items. I don't just dump them in the gabage.

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