The coronavirus has triggered some unexpected environmental benefits in recent days. Skies are clearing over China, Italy, and the US, greenhouse gas emissions are down, and cars are parked in driveways with nowhere to go. But there’s one area in which the coronavirus has potential to cause more environmental damage than before, and that is single-use disposable plastics.
The plastics industry is taking advantage of the current crisis to warn people against reusable bags and containers, saying they’re potential vectors for contamination and that disposables are a safer option. The Plastics Industry Association has written a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, asking for them to “make a public statement on the health and safety benefits seen in single-use plastics [and to] speak out against bans on these products as a public safety risk.”
As Miriam Gordon writes for Upstream Solutions, this letter contains a great deal of misinformation.
It is unfortunate that many businesses are reverting back to single use plastic ware during this pandemic. This only shifts the problem from one place to another. It becomes ‘not my problem’ for these businesses that are reverting. One way out part of this problem would be to use Biogone Landfill-degradable plastics. Same look and performance as the conventional plastic items but they will biodegrade away over 5-10 years or so if sent to a landfill. Faster if Home Compostable products are used.