Belmont, CA Takes Next Step in Banning Plastic Bags & Polystyrene Containers

Posted by — June 7, 2011 12:50 pm


Scenes Like This Could Soon Be A Memory. Courtesy of


We have another forward-thinking city to spotlight today.  Belmont, CA has taken the next steps towards banning single-use plastic bags as well as single-use polystyrene (styrofoam) containers.

At the Belmont City Council Meeting on May 31, the Council considered, and approved,  two draft ordinances in a study session.  One ordinance would ban single-use plastic bags, as well as impose a 15 cent fee for paper grocery bags (all paper bags would have a mandatory 40%  post consumer recycled content).  The other ordinance would ban all food vendors, including restaurants, delis, cafes, markets, fast food establishments and vendors at fairs and food trucks,  from dispensing prepared food in styrofoam containers.    Testimony given by Michael Swire, of the Green Advisory Committee,  urged the City Council’s approval.

Swire, appearing before the City Council, stated that residents of Belmont currently use 13 million plastic bags each year.  He also stated that plastic bags and polystyrene are the two biggest polluting items in storm drains and beaches.

Although the bans are favored by environmental groups such as Save the Bay and Sierra Club, the Belmont Chamber of Commerce has not yet taken a public position on the proposed ordinances.  Members of the public who attended the meeting gave overwhelming positive responses to the legislation.  Councilman Warren Lieberman, however, stated he does not favor the requirement that retailers would be mandated to charge 15 cents for a paper bag.  City Councilwoman Christine Wozniak seemed to be ready to approve the ordinances immediately, commenting:  “This should have been done yesterday or last year.”

Belmont, located in San Mateo County, is surrounded by communities who have either voted in favor of styrofoam bans (Burlingame, San Bruno, Pacific South San Francisco and Millbrae) or are considering bans on plastic bags, such as  San Carlos and Daly City.  Nearby neighbors, Palo Alto and San Francisco already have bans on plastic.

If you would like to voice your support for the ordinances, you can e-mail Mayor Feierbach at, as well as members of the Belmont City Council:  Vice-Mayor Warden at; David Braunstein at, Warren Lieberman at,  and Christine Wozniak at

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