Redwood City to Consider Banning Plastic Bags

If adopted, the bag ban could take effect fairly quickly.


At its upcoming meeting on March 11, the City Council of Redwood City will consider adopting a reusable bag ordinance, which would prohibit the distribution of single-use plastic bags within the City.

This follows San Mateo County's adoption of a reusable bag ordinance last year, which has subsequently been adopted by a number of other cities on the Peninsula.

"The County provided the environmental analysis for its reusable bag ordinance, which the Cities, including Redwood City, can rely upon for their ordinance," the City said in a statement Tuesday. "The purpose of a multi-agency process such as this is to provide for a uniform, consistent standard across the region, making for a smoother transition and easier compliance by affected businesses."

The State of California is also considering making bans on plastic bags a statewide law.

If adopted, the City's ordinance would take effect fairly quickly - as soon as on April 25, the statement indicated.

To answer questions and provide more detailed information on the ordinance and bag ban, for both community members and local businesses, the City has scheduled two informational meetings to take place in the Community Room of the Downtown Main Library. 

The meeting for businesses will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 2 p.m., and the one for local residents on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m.

The City has also created a web page outlining the consideration of the reusable bag ordinance, at www.redwoodcity.org/ReusableBag.

Malcolm Smith, spokesperson for the City, explained more about the ordinance in the statement sent out Tuesday.

"If adopted in Redwood City, the ordinance would ban distribution of plastic bags by all retailers except restaurants and nonprofits - not including protective bags for produce or meat, dry-cleaning, and newspapers, among other exemptions - and would require retailers to charge a minimum of 10 cents per paper bag used, raising to 25 cents in 2015.

San Mateo County's Environmental Impact Report conducted for such plastic bag bans noted that an estimated 400 million single-use plastic bags are used each year in San Mateo County - including an estimated 42 million per year in Redwood City - with only a small percentage being recycled.

"The majority of recycled platic bags end up in the landfill, or as litter and in storm drains, and they are a common litter item found in roadway, park, and creek clean-ups in Redwood City," the City said in its statement. "As litter, these plastic bags can adversely affect marine life when they find their way into streams, creeks, lakes, and the bay."

The EIR estimates that an ordinance would potentially reduce Redwood City's annual use of plastic bags by 95 percent.

"Further, use of reusable bags reduces litter and conserves natural resources - a reusable bag has the potential to replace over 600 single-use plastic bags over its lifetime, significantly reducing plastic bag litter, and reducing the one-time use of paper bags," the statement continued.

Smith said, the community is invited to the information meetings, and to the March 11 City Council meeting, to learn more and participate in the discussion of a possible ordinance banning the use of single-use plastic bags.

If the Council approves, a second reading of the ordinance would be held at the City Council's March 25 meeting, with the ordinance becoming effective 30 days later. 

PATCH WANTS TO KNOW - Do you think Redwood City should join other Peninsula cities and ban the use of single-use plastic bags? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments below.

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kodak4x4 February 11, 2013 at 01:10 AM
What is there to consider? Bring your own bags they hold more than those one time useless plastic ones.


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