Save The Bay is very excited to announce that last week, San Mateo County became the latest Bay Area jurisdiction to ban plastic bags. The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in favor of the ban, which applies to the unincorporated areas of the county. San Mateo County now joins dozens of Bay Area cities and counties in eliminating this wasteful product that pollutes our waterways and natural areas.
San Mateo County developed its model ordinance by partnering with 24 cities in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties that agreed to consider implementing the county’s ordinance once passed. This unique regional collaboration, which creates consistency for businesses and consumers, is supported by the California Grocers Association. The ban goes into effect April of 2013 for all retail stores (not including restaurants) and requires stores to charge 10 cents for each paper bag. Customers can avoid the charge simply by bringing their own bags when they shop.
Save The Bay estimates that over 1 million plastic bags enter the Bay each year, suffocating wetlands and threatening wildlife. San Mateo County’s policy will encourage people to break their habit of using this polluting and unnecessary product in favor of the more Bay-friendly reusable bag. It’s a win-win for the environment and San Mateo County residents alike!
San Mateo County took a great step in cementing its position as an environmental leader in the Bay Area. We now call upon the cities that pledged to participate to make plastic bags a thing of the past by adopting the county ordinance.