Jan 27 - Los Altos Considers Plastic Bag and Polystyrene Bans


The City of Los Altos may soon ban plastic bags and foamed polystyrene containers in an effort to meet zero stormwater trash goals.

According to media reports, the City could ban single-use plastic bags within the next two years, and a food takeout container ordinance is also being considered. Eleven measures for a trash load reduction plan, including the plastic pollution bans, were presented to City Council earlier this month.

Ordinance details are still being worked out, but it’s possible that, unlike the City of San Jose’s ordinance which applies to all retailers, the Los Altos bag ordinance would only apply to the largest stores.

Like other local jurisdictions covered under Municipal Regional Stormwater National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit (Order R2 2009 0074), Los Altos must comply with a zero trash load requirement by 2022. A 40% reduction is required by 2014.

The passage of local plastic bag bans and expanded polystyrene (eps) takeout container bans help reduce trash in waterways. And as staff noted during their report to council, the adoption of these bans would earn the City of Los Altos trash reduction credits to help them meet the mandatory trash load levels. The City of Mountain View recently discussed a similar trash reduction plan and voted last week to begin work on both bag and Styrofoam bans.

Elsewhere in Santa Clara County, the cities of San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Palo Alto have already banned single-use plastic bags, while also taking steps to reduce eps waste.

See the list of local single-use plastic bag and polystyrene ordinances on our website.

Take action on single-use plastic ordinances here.