Environment California
San Mateo Daily Journal
Journal staff

Foster City considers joining county bag ban

February 18, 2012, 05:00 AM Daily Journal staff report

Several San Mateo County cities are working together to draft a uniform law banning plastic bags and Foster City wants to join the effort.

On Tuesday, the Foster City Council will discuss a letter of intent to join the county-wide effort to ban single-use bags.

The letter, signed by City Manager James Hardy, outlines that the city will take the lead in outreach in Foster City. It also says the city is not obligated to enact the findings of the environmental report nor to pay toward the cost of the report.

Plastic bags distributed at grocery stores and other retail establishments are seen as harmful to the environment and wildlife. The uniform law proposes fines from $100 to $500.

A number of cities around the Bay Area have their own bans in place.

San Jose’s bag-ban law went into effect at the beginning of the year. It bans retailers from handing out single-use plastic bags. San Jose shoppers must bring reusable bags or buy paper bags for 10 cents each.

Last year, South San Francisco passed a voluntary ban in hopes of encouraging businesses to opt for the greener version. In its ordinance, the city gave businesses the ability to charge 5 to 10 cents to cover the increased costs for recyclable bags.

Recently, Millbrae passed an ordinance banning bags which affects about 50 businesses once the ban starts in September. Stores can charge a minimum of 10 cents per bag, should a customer need to purchase one. Those paper bags must be comprised of at least 40 percent post-consumer recycled materials.

The council meets 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21 at City Hall, 620 Foster City Blvd.