Reusable Bag Ordinance

Bag Fee

As of January 1, 2015, the fee for paper and reusable bags is 25 cents per bag. 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.
Colorful Reusable Bags and Car Seat


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 the fact sheet for full details.

Community Resources

Business Resources

We have signage in English, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese and Tagalog giving a brief overview of the bag ordinance.

Reusable Bag Policy Enforcement

San Mateo County Environmental Health Services is responsible for enforcing the reusable bag ordinance within San Mateo County. If you have questions or concerns about code enforcement, they can be reached at (650) 372-6200.

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