On April 22, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-54-20, which suspended for 60 days requirements for stores in unserved convenience zones to either redeem empty beverage containers in-store or pay a $100/day fee to the state. That Executive Order also suspended for 60 days a requirement that recycling centers be open a minimum number of hours per week in order to receive handling fees for recycling beverage containers.
On June 23, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-70-20, which extends those beverage container recycling provisions for an additional 60 days. In justifying the extension, the Governor noted that “contact exposure at retail establishments, beverage dealers, and recycling centers could spread COVID-19” and that strict compliance with the law would complicate efforts to prevent and mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. While these limitations may help limit the spread of COVID-19, they also come at a time when it is very difficult for many Californians – especially in rural areas - to find places where they can redeem their empty beverage containers.
Finally, Governor Newsom declined to extend a similar provision included in N-54-20 that suspended the state’s plastic bag ban for 60 days. That provision had allowed retailers to provide single-use plastic bags to consumers, except for those jurisdictions whose pre-existing local ordinances had been grandfathered into the statewide ban.