Woodside council revisits plastic bag ban | January 23, 2013 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - January 23, 2013

Woodside council revisits plastic bag ban

The Woodside Town Council will consider signing on to San Mateo County's ordinance that prohibits retail outlets from dispensing the flimsy "single use" plastic bags at checkout counters.

The council meets at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, at Independence Hall near the corner of Woodside and Whiskey Hill roads. If the council acts on its previous vote of support for the concept, it could introduce an ordinance on Tuesday and adopt it at a subsequent meeting. The law would take effect on the same day as the county's ordinance: Earth Day, April 22, 2013.

In February 2012, the council voted 5-2, with councilmen Dave Burow and Tom Shanahan dissenting, to support the county's plans that, in addition to banning the bags, would require merchants to charge customers a small fee for a durable reusable paper bag, if needed. Councilman Burow told the Almanac that he dislikes using public money on this, preferring incentives to discourage use of the bags.

The restrictions would not apply to restaurants or nonprofits. The California Grocers Association has endorsed the concept, and Woodside merchants have been expecting the law, Town Manager Kevin Bryant told the council.

The bags are a hazard because they are lightweight and easily escape into the environment, where they can be blown about. They're found in great numbers in the ocean, including in huge gyres of trash in the northern Pacific, where they eventually break down into tiny pieces and are ingested by unsuspecting creatures, thus contaminating the food chain with hydrocarbons.


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