Over the last few years, municipalities and companies have set goals or taken action to reduce single-use plastics. But, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, those efforts are being slowed, as the demand for bottled water, face masks, hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes significantly increases.
To name a few examples, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. and Tim Hortons have stopped filling customers’ reusable cups, and New York State Sen. John Flanagan is pushing for a suspension of the state’s recently enacted plastic bag ban.
The Wall Street Journal has more details:
The war on plastics is being put on hold as the battle to contain coronavirus ramps up.
Single-use plastic products, in the crosshairs over environmental concerns in recent years, are now getting a boost amid efforts to stop the spread of the virus. Personal drinking cups and reusable shopping bags are being shunned, while sales of bottled water, masks and wipes—made from plastic—have soared. At the same time, some recycling programs are being suspended because of concerns about the virus spreading.
Starbucks Corp. has said stores that remain open in North America would serve coffee only in disposable cups for takeout. Starbucks, Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. and Tim Hortons—owned by Restaurant Brands International Inc.—have all stopped filling customers’ reusable cups, a U-turn after years of encouraging them.