News

Woodside agrees to plastic-bag ban concept

The Town Council in Woodside has agreed in principle to join a countywide initiative now in the works that would ban the flimsy "single-use" plastic bags at retail check-out counters.

The council's 5-2 vote on Feb. 27, with councilmen Dave Burow and Tom Shanahan dissenting, adds support to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors' plans to craft an ordinance that, in addition to banning the bags, would require merchants to charge customers a small fee for a paper or durable reusable bag if they need one and haven't brought one of their own.

A county ordinance may be on the books by January 2013, according to a Woodside staff report. The supervisors would ask the cities and towns to "by reference" adopt the same ordinance.

A group effort matters because ordinances in individual communities have been vulnerable to court challenges by deep-pocketed bag manufacturers. This ordinance would be based on a county-funded environmental impact report, Dean Peterson, the director of the county's Department of Environmental Health, told the council.

"So far, no one has sued (over an ordinance) with an EIR attached," he said.

In 2010, the state Legislature considered a similar regulation that the Assembly passed but the Senate rejected on a vote of 21-14. Eight Democrats voted against it and no Republicans voted for it.

Locally, Mr. Peterson is set to speak to the Menlo Park City Council on March 13, county spokesperson Robyn Thaw said. There are no plans to contact Atherton as it has no retail, Ms. Thaw said.

The Portola Valley council will be inviting Mr. Peterson to a March or April meeting, Brandi de Garmeaux, the town's environmental programs coordinator, said in an email.

The ban would not affect the more durable clear plastic bags available for fresh produce. Customers would have to pay 10 cents for a paper or reusable bag at the checkout counter until Jan. 1, 2014, when it would rise to 25 cents.

In an email explaining his dissent, Mr. Burow, the Woodside councilman, noted that Roberts Market already credits customers 10 cents for their own bags, and that "most people" he knows bring their own bags. Incentives, not penalties, are the way to go, he said.

Woodside town staff, after visiting Roberts, Buck's of Woodside restaurant, The Village Pub and other retailers, came away with the sense that a ban would not be a surprise, Town Manager Kevin Bryant said.

Deputy Town Engineer Eunejune "EJ" Kim added: "They seemed to be pretty good with it, that it was a good thing."

The California Grocers Association approves of the concept, Mr. Peterson said.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Mar 7, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Utopia is just a reusable bag away.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by REALITYBITES
a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2012 at 12:59 pm

What a wondrous sacrifice and not having to find yet another floating plastic bag mess that was discovered in the ocean shown on CBS Sunday which apparently is as vast as the state of Texas.
[Portion removed. Please stick to the topic.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by REALITYBITES
a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Before anyone dismisses the above or has it removed, I found it today in Forbes online.............not some tabloid.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michelle Daher
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 7, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Article failed to mention that the City of East Palo Alto also joined this effort on February 21, 2012.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Some Guy
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 7, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Ahh, the great pacific garbage patch.
How do you know it actually exists? Cause you saw a photo of some guy rowing a boat through a bunch of crap in the water?
Evidently, you can't see it in satellite photos because "Despite its size and density, the patch is not visible from satellite photography, since it consists primarily of suspended particulates in the upper water column." (From Wikipedia).
Yet it's not to hard to find pictures like this attached to it: Web Link

I'm sorry, but the scene in that picture, is visible from space. It just is. Browse google earth, it is visible from space.

I know, I know, the satellite images have a higher resolution for land, they don't use as high of resolution for oceans. If it's the size of Texas, you shouldn't need really high resolution. You should be able to see some weird coloration at least. Or, why hasn't any new, higher resolution images been produced?

So, does it actually exist? Or is it propaganda?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by gunste
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Mar 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm

The plastic bag ban is required because a lot of people are very irresponsible with them. We use them for garbage can liners and recycle to excess. - In the absence of plastic bags from stores, which we get when we have more than the reusable can hold, we shall have to buy plastic bags for use in the garbage can.
The ban will not discipline irresponsible user who clutterup the environment.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Local Neighbor
a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2012 at 4:41 pm

An article in the Cupertino Courier explains the dangers of banning plastic bags: Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Mar 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm

[Post removed. Multiple names.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 11, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Mr. Gordon:

you clearly do not understand the cause of tsunamis if you think garbage settling to the ocean floor is a cause.

Oh, and editor, once again R Gordon posts under the pseudonym "realitybites."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by R.Gordon
a resident of another community
on Mar 12, 2012 at 9:58 am

If the editor did not remove every web link of mine, Menlo Bowler might get an idea how they relate to tsunamis and the Japanese earthquake just might have something to do with your total absence of credulity.
TO THE EDITOR.........How will we know if Woodside abides by the ruling of no plastic bags? They do tend to violate a lot of rules as it is. I will be happy to list them for you.


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