San Bruno's Sustainability Programs
Reusable Bag Ordinance Update - 4/15/2013
On Earth Day, April 22, 2013, the San Bruno Reusable Bag Ordinance will launch, requiring that retailers no longer provide customers with single-use plastic carry-out bags. On that day, San Bruno joins other cities and counties that encourage the use of reusable bags, promoting healthier environments for citizens through the decreased use of single-use plastic bags.
Researchers have well documented the harmful impact to our environment and wildlife caused by single-use plastic bags. Plastic never biodegrades; instead it breaks down into smaller particles that seep into our soil and water. According to Save the Bay, approximately 1 million plastic bags enter San Francisco Bay each year, causing significant harm to water quality and wildlife.
Prior to the adoption of the Ordinance by the City Council, the City held outreach meetings with businesses and residents and received generally positive feedback. The ban will apply to all retail businesses in San Bruno, including grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies and other shops. It does not apply to plastic bags used for restaurant food take-outs or for produce, meats, bulk foods and prescription medicines. Shop owners are encouraged to return any unused plastic bags to their vendors for repurposing and/or refund.
If retail customers do not bring a reusable bag, the retailer will charge them a minimum of 10-cents per paper bag until January 1, 2015, after which a minimum 25-cents bag charge may apply. Shoppers using reusable bags are encouraged to practice “healthy bag habits” that include washing reusable bags regularly to remove bacteria and other potential food contaminants. Other recommendations for bag safety can be found on the San Mateo County Health System website.
A copy of the staff report with detailed information is available here.
A copy of the Reusuable Bag Ordinance is available here.
Please contact the Public Services Department at (650) 616-7065 with any comments or questions.
The City of San Bruno has for years taken a lead role on environmental issues, including early adoption of curbside recycling, adoption of a recycled-content purchasing policy, support of water conservation measures, local recycling information, and stormwater pollution prevention efforts.
The City annually sponsors events such as Clean Your Files Day (an Earth Day event to promote recycling of office paper), Operation Clean Sweep (the City's annual litter clean-up event), and Coats for Kids (a reuse program for winter clothes). In addition, the City works closely with our franchised garbage and recycling hauler, Recology San Bruno and the County of San Mateo's recycling and hazardous waste programs.
Please note: The City's franchise with Recology San Bruno is an exclusive agreement. This means that San Bruno residents and businesses are not allowed to select competing haulers for garbage or recycling services (including debris boxes). If you need any garbage or recycling services, please call Recology San Bruno at 583-8536. To report a problem with the service you receive from San Bruno Garbage, call the City Manager's office at 616-7056.