Reusable Bag Ordinance
Break the Bag Habit!
Save The Bay estimates that over one million plastic bags enter the Bay each year. Up to 90% of floating debris is plastic, and that plastic never biodegrades.
The bags entangle, suffocate, and poison at least 267 known animal species worldwide. All of this damage for only an average use of 12 minutes. (Source: Save the Bay)
Paper bags also have a negative environmental impact. The Final Program Environmental Impact Report (FEIR)
states that paper bags may “have greater impacts related to air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, water quality (from manufacturing) than plastic bags if the same quantity is used.”
Bag Fee Set to Increase January 1, 2015
Cities in San Mateo County can expect to see the fee for paper and reusable bags increase from 10 cents to 25 cents beginning January 1, 2015. This is a planned fee increase that was written into the original ordinance. San Mateo County has provided research on some of the results of the bag implementation. The full 2014 San Mateo County Bag Report
includes some impressive results, such as an 84% decrease in bag orders from retailers and a 66% decrease in people buying a bag that they would have received for free in the past.
Implementation began on June 6, 2013 in the City of San Mateo
. The City of San Mateo and the County of San Mateo educated and provided opportunities for retailers and grocers to comply with the reusable bag ordinance. Also, delis that have not already made the switch to non-polystyrene containers will have time to use their stock of polystyrene before enforcement in the City of San Mateo commences.
Retail shoppers will have the option of bringing their own reusable bags. Retailers will charge a minimum of $.10 for a requested recycled paper bag or reusable bag. Exemptions apply for restaurants and nonprofit charitable organizations, as well as businesses that use produce and meat bags, garment cleaning bags and pharmaceutical bags. Please read San Mateo County’s ordinance
and fact sheet
for full details.
|Reusable Bag Ordinance Video!
Watch the County's animation video of the environmental impacts of single use plastic bags and paper bags! Thanks to the talented students of San Jose State who created this educational video.
Working with our Business Community
If you will just be starting out, our team can visit your business to take questions from your management team or staff. Just call us at (650) 522-7300 or email Kevin Buchanan at
City of San Mateo's Reusable Bag Ordinance
(references County ordinance
County of San Mateo’s Reusable Bag Ordinance
Reusable Bag Ordinance: Fact Sheet
County of San Mateo's Reusable Bag Environmental Document
City of San Mateo's Reusable Bag Ordinance Notice of Intent (NOI)
City of San Mateo's Reusable Bag Ordinance Negative Declaration
County of San Mateo’s Polystyrene Ban Ordinance
Polystyrene Ban: "Green" Vendor Listing