REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors today voted to protect the environment by banning the free distribution of single-use carry-out bags at retail outlets, the first step in what the Board hopes will be a region-wide effort.
The Board voted 5 to 0 to phase out the use of plastic bags by retailers in unincorporated areas of the county by April 22, 2013, giving time for stores and consumers to comply with the new law and to locate reusable bags. (View Staff Report)
“We’re going to devote time and energy over the coming months to reach out to consumers and businesses, educating them about the environmental benefits of the ordinance and giving them time to adjust,”said Board President Adrienne J. Tissier, who co-sponsored the ordinance along with Supervisor Carole Groom.
Recognizing that plastic bags blowing in the wind, clogging creeks and streams and littering the environment is a regional problem, the Board also approved an Environmental Impact Report that can be used by 24 Peninsula cities in adopting their own ordinances. The report found that a staggering 552 million plastic bags are used annually in the 24 cities and the unincorporated area of San Mateo County.