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For Immediate Release
February 5, 2013

Malcolm Smith
Public Communications Manager

Redwood City to Consider Reusable Bag Ordinance - Information Meetings Scheduled

Redwood City, CA - At its meeting of March 11, 2013, the City Council of Redwood City will be considering adoption of a reusable bag ordinance which would prohibit the distribution of single-use plastic bags within the City. This follows San Mateo County's adoption of a reusable bag ordinance last year, which has subsequently been adopted by a number of other cities on the peninsula.

The County provided the environmental analysis for its reusable bag ordinance, which the cities, including Redwood City, can rely upon for their ordinance. The purpose of a multi-agency process such as this is to provide for a uniform, consistent standard across the region, making for a smoother transition and easier compliance by affected businesses. If adopted, the City's ordinance would take effect on April 25, 2013.

Two informational meetings have been scheduled to assist businesses and community members with understanding the scope and effect of the proposed reusable bag ordinance:

For Businesses............................Wednesday, February 13, 2 pm
For Community Members............Tuesday, February 19, 7 pm

Both meetings take place in theCommunity Room of the Redwood City Downtown Library, at 1044 Middlefield Road. Any community member or businessperson is welcome to attend either meeting, as the information presented will be identical at each one. The City's web page outlining the consideration of a reusable bag ordinance is located at

If adopted in Redwood City, the ordinance would ban distribution of plastic bags by all retailers except restaurants and nonprofits (not including protective bags for produce or meat, dry-cleaning, and newspapers, among other exemptions), and require retailers to charge a minimum of 10¢ per paper bag used (25¢ as of 2015).

In 2012, San Mateo County prepared a Program Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and passed an ordinance for a ban on single-use plastic bags, in favor of the use of reusable bags, affecting unincorporated County areas. The County's ordinance takes effect on April 22, 2013. All cities in San Mateo County with an interest in adopting the County ordinance within their borders have either passed or are considering passage of a reusable bag ordinance. These 18 cities are all identified in the County's EIR and its Study Area, which allows cities to adopt the ordinances without needing to conduct a separate environmental analysis.

The EIR notes that an estimated 400 million single-use plastic bags are used each year in San Mateo County, including an estimated 42 million in Redwood City, with only a small percentage being recycled. The majority end up in the landfill, or as litter and in storm drains, and they are a common litter item found in roadway, park, and creek cleanups in Redwood City. As litter, these plastic bags can adversely affect marine life when they find their way into streams, creeks, lakes, and the bay. The EIR estimates that an ordinance would potentially reduce Redwood City's annual use of plastic bags by 95%.

Further, use of reusable bags reduces litter and conserves natural resources: a reusable bag has the potential to replace over 600 single-use plastic bags over its lifetime, significantly reducing plastic bag litter, and reducing the one-time use of paper bags.

The community is invited to the information meetings, and to the March 11 City Council meeting, to learn more and participate in the discussion of a possible ordinance banning the use of single-use plastic bags. If the Council approves, a second reading of the ordinance would be held at the City Council's March 25 meeting, with the ordinance becoming effective 30 days later.

Visit Redwood City's award-winning website at for information about the City and its services, the community, recreation programs, education, and local business. Subscribe to Redwood City's email newsletter and other City documents by visiting



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