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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