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San Mateo County moves closer to single-use plastic bag ban

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In the ongoing movement to make single-use plastic bags a thing of the past, the city of Menlo Park is just one of the latest to consider banning them outright. According to the Patch, Menlo Park is among 24 cities in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties currently considering such a plastic bag ban, with San Mateo County releasing a draft Environmental Impact Report on June 22. Like many other plastic bag ban proposals, bags used for produce and meat would not be affected.

“I did not see any surprises in the draft EIR, and the one thing we need to keep in mind that this is by no means final. We’re still in the draft stage,” said Dean Peterson, the Environmental Health Director of San Mateo County by phone. “Based on the results, there were a number of impacts that would be beneficial, and they’ll definitely aid in getting the ban through.”

San Mateo County Planning Commission will be presenting the results of the review to residents during a hearing to be held 9 a.m. at 400 County Center, in Redwood City where the public is invited to give feedback that could be included in the final report.

“It’s going to take time and a lot of education,” added Peterson. “The main, overriding goal is to implement a policy that can be put into place regionally. That’s going to require changing behavior to have a successful campaign. It’s my understanding that a lot of the cities will be doing individual workshops for their constituents, in addition to the official public hearings that will be needed. But most importantly, we need to craft the best possible document for the decision-makers to have in their hands to make those decisions.”

To do their part in helping the public break their dependency on plastic bags, Menlo Park is giving out free reusable shopping bags (complete with the city logo emblazoned on the side) at the City Administration Building, located at 701 Laurel Street.