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Reusable Bag Ordinance – Suspended

General information


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, San Mateo County has adopted an Emergency Regulation that suspends the requirement for retailers to charge for reusable bags or recycled content paper bags at point of sale. The Health Officer’s Order prohibits all bags brought in by customers.

Effective Date: The Regulation takes effect immediately and will remain in place until the Health Officer removes the suspension.

Bags Allowed: Reusable 2.25 mil durable plastic or 30% post-consumer recycled content paper bags provided by retailers.

Prohibited Bags: Reusable bags brought in by customers. Single-use plastic or paper bags that aren’t made with recycled content paper.

Bag Charges: Retailers may suspend the 25-cent charge or may continue to charge for compliant bags at their discretion.

Retailers Affected: The Regulation applies to all retailers in unincorporated and incorporated areas of San Mateo County. The towns/cities of Atherton, Woodside, and Hillsborough are exempt from this Regulation.

Resources for Retailers: Signs are available in English, Spanish, and Chinese to display on storefront windows to help educate customers about the new requirements.

Retailer Resources:

Customer Resources

For questions or more information, please contact Environmental Health Services at (650) 372-6200 or