Twenty billion single-use plastic grocery bags are used every year in California. Most end up in landfills or as litter on land and in water. City of Menlo Park Environmental Programs Manager, Rebecca Fotu, said that “letting go of our bag habits won’t be easy, but it is a crucial step toward creating a more sustainable community.”
Accordingly, Menlo Park and 24 other cities in the Silicon Valley have joined San Mateo County’s effort to begin the process of regulating single use carryout bags at retail establishments. The policy aims to encourage the use of reusable bags for shopping by prohibiting plastic bags and charging consumers a minimum fee for using paper bags. The proposed ordinance would not apply to restaurants or bags distributed to protect products such as prescription medication or produce.
The County of San Mateo is assisting Menlo Park and other participating cities in making an informed decision by preparing an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to address the impacts a single-use carryout bag regulation would have on the environment. A series of regional meetings will be held throughout San Mateo and Santa Clara counties to gather input that will assist in focusing the EIR on environmental issues that concern the public and businesses.
According to Ms. Fotu, “Menlo Park residents and businesses are welcome and encouraged to attend one (or more) of the regional meetings to learn about the process and provide input on how regulating single use bags would impact the environment before the ordinance is considered.”
The two meetings closest to Menlo Park are April 25 at 6:00 pm at City Council Chambers, 500 Castro St, Mountain View and May 3 at 6:00 pm at the Redwood City Library, 1044 Middlefield Rd., Redwood City.