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California Suspends Plastic Bag, Recycling Rules in Virus Order

April 24, 2020, 11:21 AM

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order allowing grocery stores and other retailers to provide bags at no charge as part of the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The order also suspended a requirement for in-store redemption of bottle deposits.

  • Under state law, retailers are required to charge 10 cents for bags, giving shoppers an incentive to switch to reusable bags to reduce plastic pollution.
  • Many retailers, including Walmart, had banned customers from bringing their own bags into stores.
  • The executive order, which Newsom signed Thursday, also suspended rules requiring recycling centers to be open a certain number of minimum hours. The Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery will issue revised guidelines by Monday.
  • The suspensions are in effect for 60 days, according to the order.

To contact the reporter on this story: Emily C. Dooley at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Gregory Henderson at; Katherine Rizzo at

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