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EIR Release Wraps Plastic Bag Ban Impacts Together

A draft of the proposed Environmental Impact Report is released, a document San Mateo County will use to assist cities - including Campbell - who want to ban single-use bags.

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 Campbell - 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 Department 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 9:00  a.m. in 400 County Center in Redwood City.

You are also encouraged to submit written comments to envhealth@smcgov.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

  • Brisbane
  • Belmont
  • Burlingame
  • Colma
  • Daly City
  • East Palo Alto
  • Foster City
  • Half Moon Bay
  • Menlo Park
  • Millbrae
  • Pacifica
  • Portola Valley
  • Redwood City
  • San Bruno
  • San Carlos
  • San Mateo
  • South San Francisco
  • Woodside

Santa Clara County

  • Campbell 
  • Cupertino
  • Los Gatos
  • Los Altos
  • Milpitas
  • Mountain View

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