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Silicon Valley Town Bans Single-Use Plastic Bags

(3/28/2013)

Redwood City, CA, has become the latest San Francisco-area community to adopt a single-use plastic bag ban, following a unanimous city council vote on Monday. The ban, which impacts the majority of the city's retailers, will go into effect on October 1, even though technically the law becomes official next month. "This is to provide an ample transition period for affected retailers, and to use up existing stock of the single-use carryout plastic bags," city leaders said, in a statement.

The law does allow exemptions for medicine, newspapers and to-go restaurant bags. The ordinance also lets shoppers buy paper bags for 10 cents each when checking out at registers. San Mateo County officials will be responsible for enforcing the ban.

A recent environmental impact report found that about 42 million single-use plastic bags are used annually in Redwood City, which sits between San Jose and San Francisco in California's Silicon Valley. The impact report showed that if Redwood City implemented a ban, it could cut usage of single-use plastic bags by 95%.

"Use of reusable bags reduces litter and conserves natural resources," a city statement read. "A reusable bag has the potential to replace over 600 single-use plastic bags over its lifetime, significantly reducing plastic bag litter, and reducing the one-time use of paper bags."



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