San Mateo County Reusable Bag Ordinance Goes Into Effect April 22

Posted on March 18, 2013


bag ban

On November 6, 2012 the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors passed a Reusable Bag Ordinance that effective April 22, 2013 will ban all retail stores, except restaurants, from distributing plastic carry-out bags to their customers. A retail establishment is considered  ny “retail or commercial establishment” that sells perishable or nonperishable goods including, but not limited to clothing, food, and personal items directly to the customer; and is located within or doing business within the geographical limits of the County of San Mateo.

Retailers no longer will be allowed to put customers’ purchases into plastic carryout bags. If shoppers do not have a reusable bag with them, they’ll be charged a dime per paper bag until Jan. 1, 2015, and a quarter per bag after that.

The ban will apply to all retail establishments, including grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies and shops, according to the county. It will not apply to plastic bags used for restaurant food take-outs or for produce, meats, bulk foods and prescription medicines.

The thin plastic bags clog storm drain systems, harm wildlife and pollute bodies of water such as San Francisco Bay, according to county officials and environmentalists. By banning plastic bags, municipalities are working to meet state-mandated goals for reducing trash in waterways and landfills, said Dean Peterson, the county’s director of environmental health.

San Mateo County Event Center will require all events taking place here to comply with this bag ordinance.  The full text of the ordinance here:  Reusable Bag Ordinance.