Is CoronaVirus A Threat To Zero-Waste Movement?

Do you know what’s the latest threat to Zero-waste movement? It’s nothing other than CoronaVirus. 

COVID-19 has completely changed the lifestyle of people all around the world. Amidst this crisis, the only good thing associated with it is its positive impact on the environment. The news of lower levels of greenhouse gases, cleaner air, and water is circulating on social media. And that is mainly because factories are closed, people are working from home and travelling is restricted. This is a reminder that we can live in an environment-friendly way if we want to.

Is CoronaVirus A Threat To Zero-Waste Movement?

Drop in CO2 emissions in China from NASA

This pandemic is not just related to health and public well-being. It brought along several social and economic issues as well. Although all businesses are at a loss, what’s going to suffer the most is the Zero-Waste movement. Yes, it is threatening a Zero-waste lifestyle. People who practice zero-waste are finding it difficult to continue because of CoronaVirus. Here’s why;

Unfortunately, the plastic industry is using this situation for its own benefit against the ban of single-use plastics.

The plastics industry is shamelessly trying to exploit this health crisis,” said Judith Enck, a former regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency and founder of the advocacy group, Beyond Plastics. “The alternatives aren’t ready, and people are suddenly much more concerned about hygiene than they are about the potential impact on the environment of plastics.”

According to the plastic industry, reusable bags and containers can be potential vectors of the novel coronavirus. These have higher risks of cross-contamination. And for that, a better option is using plastic products as disposables are safer.

Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and Second Cup suspended reusable cup programs to prevent the spread of COVID-9. A very famous Canadian chain, Bulk Barn, introduced a reusable container program in 2017. Surprisingly, it announced going back to single-use plastic bags to cope up with the current situation. Shannon Gutcher from Bulk Barn said, “Out of an abundance of caution due to COVID-19 uncertainties, we have determined that it is appropriate at this point to be extra vigilant and to pause this program for the current time.”

The Problem Remains There

Using disposable plastics bags or cups is not a solution to this problem as “There is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19” according to FDA

So, basically material doesn’t matter. The risk is similar for all kinds of packaging. Rather plastic is far beyond hazardous. It causes a threat to the environment and human health starting from its extraction till final disposal. 

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What Should we do to help the Zero-waste movement?

Now that we know CoronaVirus is a threat to the Zero-waste movement, we must not forget the consequences of single-use plastic. The best thing to do is to practice social distancing by staying at home. Brew your own coffee instead of going to coffee shops and save your money. Buy items with less packaging. Or buy in bulk. Try to avoid plastics as much as possible. Wash the reusable bags more often. Sanitize product surfaces whenever possible. Wash your hands thoroughly. Research and be informed. Make conscious decisions. Don’t let this pandemic ruin the Zero-Waste movement. And to be more precise, Don’t let one crisis turn into another.

Let us know on social media if you think CoronaVirus is a threat to the zero-waste movement. 

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2 thoughts on “Is CoronaVirus A Threat To Zero-Waste Movement?”

  1. I personally enjoyed reading this article and it opened my eyes to see the consequences of this pandemic on the environment, on the other side! Yes, I do agree with the writer and wanted to add that Tim Hortons, as well, has been not taking any reusable cups since February. ;(

    1. Thank you very much, Heba. Glad you found this article interesting.
      And thank you for the information. We hope this situation ends soon and people understand the urgency of climate action.
      Thank you once again.

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