Reusable cups, bags safe to use during COVID-19, Greenpeace says

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Reusable products such as cups and bags are safe to use even during the coronavirus pandemic as long as basic hygiene practices are employed, according to Greenpeace USA Inc.

Reusable products are safe to use even during the coronavirus pandemic as long as basic hygiene practices are employed, according to Greenpeace USA Inc.

Single-use plastic is not inherently safer than reusable products as the virus can remain infectious on both surfaces for varying time, Greenpeace said in a statement endorsed by over 100 health experts around the globe. Either reusable or disposable, they can be cleaned with widely used household disinfectants, such as soap and detergent, it said.

Concern over virus transmission has spurred consumption of single-use plastic products globally, including personal protective gear, medical equipment, and delivery packaging. The resurgence in the use of disposable materials will have negative impact on the environment and undermine years-long global efforts to curb plastic pollution, according to Greenpeace.

“It’s been shocking to witness the plastic industry take advantage of the pandemic to promote throwaway plastics,” Graham Forbes, Greenpeace USA global project leader, said. “It is crucial for businesses and governments to know that as they reopen, reusable systems can be deployed safely to protect both our environment and workers and customers.”

The pandemic has renewed commitment to hygiene, which has helped drive sales of plastic like polystyrene as consumers relegate environmental priorities in an effort to stay clear of the virus. About 15 million tons of polystyrene are produced globally every year, which is used in cars and hospital ventilators as well as takeaway coffee cups and food packaging. — Bloomberg

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