San Mateo County, which adopted its single-use plastic bag ordinance in November, 2012, is being honored by the 2013 Conference of Directors of Environmental Health. They've been selected to receive the "Excellence in Environmental Health" award for innovation and creativity in providing environmental health services.
The San Mateo County ordinance has already been used as a model for many of the 24 cities in or near the county to adopt their own plastic bag bans without fear of litigation or having to create their own individual environmental reports.
Those eligible to adopt San Mateo's ordinance by reference included: Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, Campbell, Colma, Cupertino, Daly City, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Milpitas, Mountain View, Pacifica, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, South San Francisco, Woodside.
San Mateo County's ordinance is having a positive effect in the fight to stop the proliferation of single-use plastic bags, according to a story in the San Mateo Patch.
Since the ordinance was adopted, initial surveys taken outside of major retail establishments have indicated that 82 percent of shoppers are either bringing a reusable bag, or not taking a bag at all. The remaining 18 percent are purchasing a bag from the retailer.
When communities like San Mateo County take decisive action to reduce plastic marine pollution by adopting local ordinances, they pave the way for other communities to do the same. Their commitment continues to build momentum across the state.
Despite the fact that one in three Californians now live in a community covered under a local ordinance, we can't stop pushing for a statewide solution. It's too important to the economy and to the marine life that is threatened every day when plastic bags enter the environment.