The Redwood City Council is considering a ban on single-use plastic bags and is holding two public meetings this month to help residents and businesses understand the full scope of the proposed ordinance.
Several Peninsula cities have already followed the San Mateo County template for prohibiting the bags and Redwood City is poised to possibly do the same at its March 11 council meeting. If adopted, the ordinance becomes effective April 25.
In the meantime, the city is doing outreach on how the ban would work, who it would affect and any associated costs. If adopted, the ordinance would ban bags by all retailers except restaurants and nonprofits excluding protective bags for produce or meat, dry cleaning and newspapers. Retailers must charge a minimum of 10 cents per paper bag used although that fee jumps to 25 cents in 2015.
The ordinance echoes that of the county which was passed in 2012 after an environmental impact report involving several Peninsula cities. Twenty-four cities in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties participated in the EIR process but each city council is required to adopt a ban for it to be effective in those jurisdictions. The cities included in the San Mateo County EIR are 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, Milpitas, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Campbell and Mountain View.
The EIR noted that an estimated 400 million single-use plastic bags are used annually in San Mateo County included approximately 42 million in Redwood City alone. Only a small percentage are recycled and the EIR estimated the ordinance could potentially slash Redwood City's annual plastic bag use by 95 percent.
The meetings are: For businesses, 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13 and for community members 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19. Both will be in the Redwood City downtown library community room, 1044 Middlefield Road. More information about the ordinance is available at www.redwoodcity.org/ReusableBag.