San Mateo County Environmental Health Department's Reusable Bag Ordinance campaign has been awarded top honors at the 2013 California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health, county officials announced Thursday.
The Conference presents an annual “Excellence in Environmental Health” award to acknowledge outstanding programs that are innovative, creative and effective in providing quality environmental health services and give statewide and local recognition to local environmental health agency accomplishments.
San Mateo County Environmental Health Director Dean Peterson accepted the award at a ceremony on Sept. 26.
“The County of San Mateo includes 20 miles of bay shoreline and 55 miles of Pacific Ocean coast, so the choices our citizens make on a daily basis have a direct impact on our environment and beyond,” said Peterson.
“We want our community to understand the importance of this ordinance, make it easy for retailers to follow and also have a little fun in the process.”
About the Bag Ban
The Reusable Bag Ordinance went into effect in April 2013 and prohibits single use carryout bags at retail stores within unincorporated San Mateo County and within cities that have adopted the Ordinance.
Data collected during yearly cleanup events indicate that single use, plastic bags are consistently within the top three items found, along with tobacco waste and plastic water bottles, according to county officials.
During winter months, plastic single use carryout bags tend to clog storm drain trash collection devices and have caused millions of dollars of property damage due to the ensuing flooding, county officials said.
Since the ordinance was adopted, initial surveys taken outside of major retail establishments have indicated that 82 percent of shoppers are either bringing a reusable bag, or not taking a bag at all. The remaining 18 percent are purchasing a bag from the retailer.
For details on the bag ban visit, www.smchealth.org/bagban.
Do you bring your own reusable bag when you shop?