It's Time to Break Our Bag Habit!

photo of plastic bag stuck in tree

20 billion single-use plastic grocery bags are used every year in California, and most end up in landfills, or as litter on land and in our waterways.

San Mateo County is joining many cities and counties across the globe to encourage the use of reusable bags with a vision of a world with less plastic.

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.

Paper bags aren’t much better. While recycling has helped, 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.

San Mateo County prepared an Environmental Impact Report and found that adoption of an ordinance regulating single use bags would benefit the environment.

The following cities agree with San Mateo County and have partnered with us to move towards a truly regional approach: Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, Campbell, Colma, Cupertino, Daly City, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Milpitas, Mountain View, Pacifica, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, South San Francisco, Woodside

On November 6, 2012 San Mateo County Board of Supervisors passed a Reusable Bag Ordinance that effective April 22, 2013 most cities will ban all retail stores, except restaurants, from distributing plastic carry-out bags to their customers. The entire ordinance can be found here – Reusable Bag Ordinance  Starting January 1, 2015, the minimum charge for either a recycled paper bag or reusable bag will increase to 25 cents per bag.

What's one way you reduce the number of bags you use?

Share your ideas on our Facebook page.

Watch the Bag Ban Green Ninja Video

Cities and Towns that Have Adopted San Mateo County's Reusable Bag Ordinance will start on Earth Day, April 22, 2013.  Those Cities with different start dates are noted next to the City name:

  • Belmont
  • Brisbane
  • Burlingame
  • Colma
  • Daly City
  • East Palo Alto (October 2, 2013)
  • Foster City
  • Half Moon Bay
  • Menlo Park
  • Pacifica
  • Portola Valley
  • Redwood City (October 1, 2013)
  • San Bruno
  • San Carlos (July 1, 2013)
  • San Mateo (June 6, 2013)
  • South San Francisco

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