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.