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Need to Know

Health Experts Issue a Statement Addressing Safety of Reuse and Refill Systems During COVID-19 Pandemic


A consortium of more than 100 health experts from around the world signed a statement on Monday saying that, even during this time of COVID-19, “reusable systems can be used safely by employing basic hygiene.” The signatories included epidemiologists, virologists, biologists, chemists and doctors.

This statement comes “amid fears that the environmental battle to reduce single-use plastic waste is losing ground over fears of virus contamination.”

The statement cites findings from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that, “While ‘it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes,’ aerosolized droplets are the only documented method of COVID-19 transmission to date.”

It also notes that “reuse and refill systems are an essential part of addressing the plastic pollution crisis and moving away from a fossil fuel-based economy. They can create jobs and help build local economies.” It concludes with a list of best practices for reusable products in the retail space.

Charlotte K. Williams, a professor of chemistry at Oxford University and one of the signatories, noted that, “I hope we can come out of the COVID-19 crisis more determined than ever to solve the pernicious problems associated with plastics in the environment.”

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