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Menlo Park May Ban Plastic Bags by Earth Day

City was scheduled to discuss the issue on Wednesday; no one showed up to the meeting.

Stores in Menlo Park may ban plastic bags next year and start charging customers ten cents for each paper bag they use.

On Wednesday night, it wasn't readily apparent who cared.

Menlo Park's environmental programs manager, prepared to host a discussion in the r about the possible environmental impacts of the ban.  Her PowerPoint presentation was primed to project onto the screen; tables were set up for attendees. When the clock struck 6 p.m., the only person who had arrived to talk about the issue with her was Dean Peterson, director of the San Mateo County Department of Environmental Health.

Fotu seemed unscathed. She said that a lack of people in attendance doesn't equate to a lack of interest.

"This shows us that people are not angry about the ban," Fotu said, noting that she has received more than 100 comments in writing. "When people are not in favor of something, they will make the effort to come in person and tell us that," she said.

24 cities in San Mateo County are considering a ban on polystyrene bags.  According to Peterson, the ordinance is gaining favor with the public.

"Daly City passed a polystyrene bag ban on Monday," Peterson said enthusiastically. "San Mateo is one of the last two big cities in the county that are unsure about doing it," he said. 

Peterson has been working to get this ordinance adopted since the beginning of the year, modeling the after the one that San Jose created. His work may be culminating to success soon.

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to review the language of the ban and the Environmental Impact Report on October 23rd.  In advance of that, the San Mateo County Planning Commission needs to sign off on it.  "I'm fairly certain that it will be adopted," he said. 

If it is, stores in Menlo Park may have to stop using plastic bags by Earth Day 2013.

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betty meissner July 26, 2012 at 02:21 PM
When I arrived at the Rec Center at 6:30, staff told me that the few people who had been there earlier had already left. I was disappointed not only at the low turn-out but also that the presenters didn't wait for us latecomers, especially given that the meeting had been scheduled for 6-8
Vanessa Castañeda (Editor) July 26, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Oh no. I wonder if this happened to other people too. Were you going to find out more information or to share feedback about how this ban would change Menlo?
A. Lee July 27, 2012 at 02:28 AM
Maybe the location "Rec Center" didn't catch the eye the same way "Council Chambers" does, when public input is solicited.
Vanessa Castañeda (Editor) July 27, 2012 at 03:34 AM
When something could alter the way you're able to carry your food, you'd think it would be noticed.

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