On August 25, 2020, the non-profit organization Greenpeace published a report arguing that “reusables are doable” also in the times of a pandemic and that hygienic concerns should not be used as an excuse to stall the progress made in eliminating single-use plastics.
As summarized by the Plastics Pollution Coalition, the new report highlights “various reuse and refill models around the globe that have continued or can be used during the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring strong sanitization or contactless systems for containers.” With this evidence, Greenpeace “assures restaurants, retailers, and consumer goods companies that a pandemic does not need to mean shifting toward widespread disposable plastic that threatens the environment and the health of communities worldwide.” The report urges governments and industry to uphold the efforts aimed at moving away from single-use plastics and argues that reuse systems will not only benefit the environment but also provide new jobs and help support disadvantaged communities.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, proponents of single-use plastics have “worked to exploit fears around COVID-19 to demonize reusables and expand disposable plastics” (FPF reported), resulting in delays and roll-backs in diverse regulatory actions and business initiatives (FPF reported). In June 2020, over 115 health experts signed a statement arguing that disposables are not inherently safer than reusables and that, by following standard sanitation procedures, reuse solutions can be safely employed by both the retail and food service providers (FPF reported).
More information related to the COVID-19 pandemic and packaging is available on the Food Packaging Forum’s resources page.
Plastic Pollution Coalition (August 25, 2020). “Report highlights reusable models that instill confidence during the pandemic.”
Packaging Europe (August 19, 2020). “’Now is the time to transition to a circular economy.’”
Greenpeace (August 25, 2020). “Reusables are doable.”