Most people have come to accept they must bring in their re-usable shopping bags when going to the store or pay the 10 cent per bag charge. On January 1st 2015 the cost will raise significantly to 25 cents a bag per the San Mateo County ordinance which was put into effect on June 6, 2013. Many shoppers take out their frustrations on the clerks not realizing shops can be found in violation and fined accordingly:
4.114.060 Administrative fine
- Grounds for Fine. A fine may be imposed upon findings made by the Director of the Environmental Health Division, or his or her designee, that any retail establishment has provided a single-use carry-out bag to a customer in violation of this
- Amount of Fine. Upon findings made under subsection (a), the retail establishment shall be subject to an administrative fine as follows:
- A fine not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100.00) for a first violation;
- A fine not exceeding two hundred dollars ($200.00) for a second violation;
- A fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500) for the third and subsequent violations;
Each day that a retail establishment has provided single-use carry-out bags to a customer constitutes a separate violation
South San Francisco passed a Reusable Bag Ordinance in December 2012 which ban single use plastic bags and required a charge for paper/reusable bags in all retail stores effective April 2013. The 2015 increase will be County wide. San Mateo County offices have put out the information below on their website. To read the full five page County ordinance CLICK HERE.
Reusable Bag Ordinance
Break the Bag Habit!
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.”
Bag Fee Set to Increase January 1, 2015
Cities in San Mateo County can expect to see the fee for paper and reusable bags increase from 10 cents to 25 cents beginning January 1, 2015. This is a planned fee increase that was written into the original ordinance. 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.
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 San Mateo County’s ordinance and fact sheet for full details.