A movement to ban plastic bags at retail stores in the County of San Mateo and 24 other cities in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties - including both Foster City and San Mateo - continues to move forward.
San Mateo County has released a draft of a mandated Environmental Impact Report, which assesses the impact the proposed Single Use Bag Ban Ordinance would create. Once the EIR is complete - expected in October 2012 - the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors will vote on whether or not to approve the ordinance.
The proposal is meant to eliminate single-use bags. Restaurants would be excluded from the ban. Additionally, produce bags and bags that hold prescription medication would be exempted.
If passed by the Supervisors, the ordinance would impose a 10-cent fee for for each recycled paper and reusable bag distributed by stores at the point of sale until Dec. 31, 2014; beginning January 1, 2015, the charge would increasee to 25 cents per paper bag.
According to the San Mateo County Health System website:
- 20 billion single-use plastic grocery bags are used every year in California.
- Most end up in landfills, or as litter on land and in water.
- Researchers have well-documented the harmful impact to our environment and wildlife caused by one-use plastic bags.
- Plastic never biodegrades; instead it breaks down into smaller and smaller particles that seep into our soil and water.
- A study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that only 4.3 percent of bags end up being recycled and a single-use paper bag has an even larger greenhouse gas emission than plastic bags.
A single public hearing on the draft report of the EIR will be held by the San Mateo County Planning Commission on July 11 at 9 a.m. at 400 County Center in Redwood City.
You are also encouraged to submit written comments to firstname.lastname@example.org through the close of business on Aug. 6.
Here's a rundown of the cities in the two counties participating in the EIR:
San Mateo County
- Daly City
- East Palo Alto
- Foster City
- Half Moon Bay
- Menlo Park
- Portola Valley
- Redwood City
- San Bruno
- San Carlos
- San Mateo
- South San Francisco
Santa Clara County
- Los Gatos
- Los Altos
- Mountain View
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