News & Politics

California Temporarily Lifts Ban on Plastic Bags

(Image via Pixabay)

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that suspends the law requiring stores to charge 10 cents for single-use plastic bags for 60 days.

The measure is part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic. Apparently, cloth and other reusable bags can carry the virus. Grocery stores have been discouraging their customers from using them.

Sacramento Bee:

Newsom’s executive order allows grocery stores to hand out single-use plastic grocery bags, at no cost, where it is not possible to hand out paper or reusable plastic bags.

The initiative voters passed in 2016 required retailers to charge customers 10 cents for store-provided bags. Newsom’s executive order also waives that requirement.

The order specifies that it does not supersede local plastic bag ban ordinances that were in effect prior to Jan. 1, 2015.

Recycling advocates nearly had apoplexy earlier this month when San Francisco — far-left, super-green San Francisco — banned reusable bags for the reasons Newsom is allowing plastic bags to be used.


The Bay Area counties reduced the types of businesses and facilities that can stay open to the public and tightened requirements for those still operating, including grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurants still open for takeout or delivery. Among the updated requirements in the order, which lasts through May 3: “Not permitting customers to bring their own bags, mugs, or other reusable items from home.”

The rule appears to be the most stringent coronavirus-related restriction placed on reusable bags in California, which has banned single-use plastic bags since 2016. California allows the 70 or so jurisdictions whose local bans preceded the state ban, including most of the Bay Area, Los Angeles County and Sacramento County, to preempt state law.

“Single-use” plastic bags is a misnomer. Many of us use many of our plastic bags for multi-purposes.

But charging people 1o cents per bag to bag your groceries is outrageous. How many “reusable” bags would you use if you were purchasing $150 in groceries? It’s ludicrous.

This is what happens when green whackos are put in charge of the government. There’s no doubt reducing the number of plastic bags used is a noble goal. But only an idiot would want to achieve that goal all at once. Environmentalists never heard of “gradualism” or “incrementalism.” They demand that everything should be done NOW before the world ends. It makes for very bad public policy that people will try and circumvent anyway.

Californians have received a reprieve. Perhaps they should try and make the best of it.