Draft Environmental Impact Report for Single Use Bag Ban Now Available for Public Comment
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For Immediate Release: July 10, 2012

Pursuant to Sections 15086 and 15087, Title 14, California Code of Regulations, this Notice is given to advise interested parties that the County has completed a Program Draft Environmental Impact Report (Program DEIR) for the proposed project described below and that the Program DEIR is available for public review. DEIR is directly available at the link at the bottom of this page.

PROJECT SPONSOR: County of San Mateo Health System, Environmental Health Services, 2000 Alameda de las Pulgas, Suite 100, San Mateo, CA 94403, Contact: Dean D. Peterson, Director, (650) 372-6200

PROJECT LOCATIONS: For the purposes of this analysis, it is assumed that the Single Use Bag Ban Ordinance (Proposed Ordinance) would be effective within the geographical limits of unincorporated San Mateo County and within the following participating municipalities, referred to as the “Study Area:


  • Belmont

  • Brisbane

  • Burlingame

  • Colma

  • Daly City

  • East Palo Alto

  • Foster City

  • Half Moon Bay

  • Menlo Park

  • Millbrae

  • Pacifica

  • Portola Valley

  • Redwood City

  • San Bruno

  • San Carlos

  • San Mateo

  • South San Francisco

  • Woodside


  • Campbell

  • Cupertino

  • Los Altos

  • Los Gatos

  • Milpitas

  • Mountain View

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The Proposed Ordinance would regulate the use of paper and plastic single use carryout bags and apply to all retail establishments located within the Study Area, including those selling clothing, food, and personal items directly to the customer. It would not apply to restaurants nor nonprofit charitable reuse organizations. The Proposed Ordinance would (1) prohibit the free distribution of single-use carryout paper and plastic bags and (2) require retail establishments to charge customers for recycled paper bags and reusable bags at the point of sale. The minimum charge would be ten cents ($0.10) per paper bag until December 31, 2014 and twenty-five cents ($0.25) per paper bag on or after January 1, 2015.

The intent of the Proposed Ordinance is to reduce the environmental impacts related to the use of single-use carryout bags, and to promote a shift toward the use of reusable bags. It is anticipated that by prohibiting single-use plastic carryout bags and requiring a mandatory charge for each paper bag distributed by retailers, the Proposed Ordinance would provide a disincentive to customer to request paper bags when shopping at regulated stores and promote a shift to the use of reusable bags by retail customers, while reducing the number of single-use plastic and paper bags within the Study Area.

Single-use plastic carryout bags are defined as bags made from petroleum or bio-based plastic that are less than 2.25 mils thick (0.00225 inches). The Proposed Ordinance would prohibit retailers from distributing both petroleum and bio-based single-use carryout plastic bags at the point of sale. The Proposed Ordinance would not prohibit the distribution of plastic “product bags.” The Proposed Ordinance would not apply to restaurants and other food service providers.

Retail establishments would be required to keep a complete and accurate record (including documents of the purchase and sale of any recycled paper bag or reusable bag) for a minimum period of three years from the date of purchase and sale. The record must be available for inspection during regular business hours by any County employee authorized to enforce this part at no cost to the County. The charge would be retained by the affected stores to compensate the stores for increased costs related to compliance with the Proposed Ordinance.


  • Air Quality

  • Hydrology/Water Quality

  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions

  • Biological Resources

  • Utilities and Service Systems

REVIEW PERIOD: As specified by the State CEQA Guidelines, the Program DEIR will be available for public comment for a 45-day review period, beginning on June 22, 2012 and ending on August 6, 2012. Comments may be submitted, in writing, by 5:00 p.m. on August 6, 2012 and addressed to:

Camille M. Leung, Planner
Planning and Building Department
455 County Center, Second Floor
Redwood City, CA 94063
(650) 363-1826.

DOCUMENT AVAILABILITY: The Program DEIR is available for public review at the County of San Mateo Environmental Health Services website (http://www.smchealth.org/BagBan), as well as the following locations during regular business hours:

County of San Mateo Planning and Building Dept.
455 County Center Second Floor
Redwood City, CA 94063

San Mateo Main Library
55 West 3rd Avenue
San Mateo, Ca 94402

City of Redwood Downtown Library
1044 Middlefield Road
Redwood City, CA 94063

County of San Mateo Health System
Environmental Health Services
2000 Alameda de las Pulgas, Suite 100
San Mateo, CA 94403

Half Moon Bay Library
620 Correas Street
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

City of Mountain View Library
585 Franklin Street
Mountain View, CA 94041

Serramonte Main Library
40 Wembley Drive
Daly City, CA 94015

Los Gatos Public Library
Town Civic Center
100 Villa Avenue
Los Gatos, CA 95030

Milpitas Library
160 North Main Street
Milpitas, California 95035

Millbrae Library
1 Library Avenue
Millbrae, CA 94030

SCHEDULED PUBLIC HEARINGS: For unincorporated San Mateo County, the first of 2 Planning Commission meetings is scheduled for July 11, 2012. The 2nd meeting date and the Board of Supervisors decision date has not yet been set.

For each of the 24 participating agencies, decisions by the participating agencies will follow the County’s actions described above. Hearing dates at participating municipalities have not yet been set. For more information and updates on upcoming hearings, please visit: http://www.smchealth.org/BagBan.


City Hall - 610 Foster City Blvd.
Foster City, CA 94404
(650) 286-3200