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Need to Know

Governor Newsom Authorizes Roadmap for Return to Reusable Bags

Sacramento – On behalf of Californians Against Waste, Executive Director Mark Murray has issued the following statement following today’s expiration of Governor Newsom’s Executive Order to temporarily suspend California’s bag ban:

“We are grateful that Governor Newsom has allowed the temporary suspension of California’s ban on single use plastic bags to expire this week.

We understand that, out of an abundance of caution, in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, some retailers and even some county public health officers chose to temporarily discourage consumers from bringing their own reusable bags into stores.

Along with many other changes in the way consumers conduct business, consumers will be obligated to bag their own groceries and ensure that store employees or other customers do not come in contact with their reusable bags.

We are appreciative that public health officials, including those at CALOSHA, and the public health officers in Alameda, Contra Costa, Mendocino, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Clara Counties have made it explicit in their orders and guidance that consumers are authorized to bring their reusable bags to retail stores, but must prevent those bags from coming in contact with store employees, other customers, and the checkstand. Health officials agree that when consumers bag their own groceries in their own reusable bags there is no risk to public health.

The discontinued use of reusable bags at many California retailers has resulted in a severe shortage of recycled paper bags and the temporary return of single-use plastic bags by some retailers. It’s projected that as many as 1 billion single-use plastic bags were distributed in California in April and May alone, costing consumers more than $20 million in higher grocery costs.

The quick return to the practice of bringing reusable bags will reduce an unnecessary source of plastic pollution, reduce grocery costs for stores and consumers, and relieve the shortage of recycled paper bags.”

Mark Murray
Californians Against Waste



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