Reusable Bag Ordinance
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Reusable Bag Ordinance

Since April 22, 2013, retail establishments in Foster City have been prohibited from distributing free single use carryout bags.  Single use paper bags with a minimum recycled content or reusable bags may be sold for a minimum charge of $0.25.  Single use plastic bags may not be distributed.  Read the complete text of the ordinance here.

The City Council adopted the County of San Mateo's ordinance (as have many jurisdictions in the County) and the County will enforce the ordinance.  The County has set up a website with tips for business owners and residents.  Go to the County's webpage.

Residents can support the ordinance by bringing their own reusable bags when they shop.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the purpose of the ordinance?

The ordinance was passed to decrease the number of bags going to landfill, reduce litter in our local waterways, and save cities money on litter and storm drain cleanup. This ordinance helps reduce unnecessary waste, contamination in recycling and composting programs, and litter, all of which is costly to San Mateo County taxpayers, as well as harmful to marine life. The reusable bag ordinance encourages customers to bring their own bags in order to reduce the impact of disposable bags to the County and the environment.

Which retailers are affected?

All retail establishments, including, but not limited to grocery, clothing, convenience, pharmacy stores in San Mateo County are affected. Restaurants and non-profit charitable reuse organizations are not impacted by the ordinance.

Is the bag charge fee taxable?

The charge is not taxable to the consumer.

Does everyone have to pay the bag charge?

Customers purchasing food with Women, Infant, Children (WIC) or CalFresh/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Programs can be given a waiver for the bag charge.


City Hall - 610 Foster City Blvd.
Foster City, CA 94404
(650) 286-3200