In a growing effort to reduce the use of plastic bags, San Mateo County banning single use plastic bags.
20 billion single-use plastic grocery bags are used every year in California, and most end up in landfills, or as litter on land and in water, according to the county. Plastic never biodegrades, only breaks down into smaller particles that seep into the land and water.
While many attempt to recycle their bags, simply not using the bags will have far greater impact. Only 4.3 percent of bags are recycled.
Paper bags emit even more greenhouse gas emissions than plastic ones.
San Mateo County is just one of many cities and counties in the nation moving towards less usage of these bags.
But before it does, the county must draft an environmental impact report to address the impacts of eliminating the single use plastic bags and charging a minimum of 10 cents for each paper bag. The ordinance will not apply to restaurants or plastic bags needed to protect certain products, such as produce bags and bags to protect meat.
The Health System plans to develop an ordinance for the Board of Supervisors to consider by October 2012.
The following cities have agreed to be a responsible agency for the Environmental Impact Report process: Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, Campbell, Colma, Cupertino, Daly City, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Milpitas, Mountain View, Pacifica, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, South San Francisco, Woodside
The county is holding its last of seven meetings at the on Thursday, May 3 at 6 p.m.
It will also have meetings this week in:
Campbell: Wednesday, May 2, at 6 p.m. in the Campbell Public Library at 77 Harrison Ave.
Milpitas: Thursday, May 3, at 2 p.m. in Room 140 in the Barbara Lee Senior Center at 40 North Milpitas Boulevard.