Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, cities and states were making progress on plastic waste bans. But after months of quarantine, dependency on single-use plastic has skyrocketed.
According to a World Wildlife Fund report, the increase in single-use plastic is projected to increase by 40 percent in the next decade.
The reliance on single-use plastic is most evident in the restaurant industry. For example, Just Salad had been producing recyclable bowls that saved more than 75,000 pounds of plastic per year and when COVID-19 hit they had to pause the program and begin using disposable packaging.
"The plastic industry seized on the pandemic as an opportunity to try to convince people that single use plastic is necessary to keep us safe, and that reusables are dirty and dangerous," said John Hocevar, ocean campaign director at Greenpeace. "The fact that neither of these things is supported by the best available science was irrelevant."