California is easing back on both its recycling and single-use plastic bag rules.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an order on April 23 that set aside the state's ban on bags and the opening hours for recycing centers for 60 days in a move to limit exposure to the coronavirus.
Newsom said the bag ban came after hearing concerns from the California Grocers Association about clerks having to handle bags brought in by customers.
"We are being cautious to make sure there is no transmission of the virus," Dave Heylen, a vice president for the grocers' group, told the Los Angeles Times. He said the grocers will go back to abiding by the plastic bag ban when the order expires.
On recycling, the state suspended requirements that a recycling center operate for a miniumum number of hours per week.
The move comes as organizations such as the National Association for PET Container Resources and other groups raise concerns about the dropoff in the recycling stream for PET bottles due to a suspension in state bottle bills. Assistant Managing Editor Steve Toloken will be continuing to follow the sustainability story during the COVID-19 crisis.