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Reusable Bag Ordinance

Food in Bags 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.” 

To address the environmental impacts of single-use plastic bags, and encourage shoppers to use reusable bags, we joined our County, Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, Colma, Daly City, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Menlo Park, Pacifica, Portola Valley, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, South San Francisco, and Woodside in implementing a regional reusable bag ordinance. (Millbrae implemented in 2012.)

Implementation Commenced October 1, 2013
On March 25, 2013, the Redwood City Council unanimously voted to adopt the reusable bag ordinance. (See press release).  Implementation in Redwood City began October 1, 2013.

Retail shoppers 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.

Community Resources

Business Resources
Below are some materials businesses throughout the County have posted by their cash registers to help educate residents on the guidelines of the reusable bag ordinance:


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