Friends, we hope that you are safe, healthy, and have everything you need for staying home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is a scary time for all of us as we watch this crisis unfolding. First and foremost we must ensure public health and safety. This means acting based on reliable, factual and scientifically robust information, which can be difficult when there is an abundance of misinformation and fake news on social media.
For example, the American Plastic Industry association recently penned a letter to the US Department of Health and Human Services, asking the Dept to publically state that single-use plastics are the "safest choice" during the pandemic and legislation banning such items should be reversed. However, scientific evidence demonstrates that single-use plastics are not the safest choice for you or the environment. COVID-19 spreads through coughs and sneezes, if we follow medical advice to cough and sneeze into your elbow, and wash your hands, reusable cups, plates and other food containers regularly with soap and warm water, the risk is minimal. We must remember that:
- The US Food and Drug Administration states “There is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19.“
- Studies have shown that coronavirus can last on surfaces of all kinds, including plastic, metal, and cloth, for varying amounts of time, and it doesn’t matter whether the product is disposable or reusable. It is necessary to sanitize all surfaces that may be contaminated.
What matters is whether the person who prepared or handled the food is a carrier of the virus.
- Plastics food packaging contain known hazardous substances as well as for a plethora of toxicologically uncharacterized chemicals that people are exposed to when using plastic food packaging.
- Plastic waste in the environment is harmful to more than 1000 animals that ingest or become entangled in plastic pollution.
- There are many ways to make reusable to-go services for take-out and food delivery clean, sanitized and safe for consumers.
While COVID-19 can remain on hard surfaces for short periods of time, the simple solution of soap and water eliminates the risk of contracting it. This goes for all hard surfaces! Plastic pollution remains an enormous ecological and human health issue - we will continue to work hard to get scientifically tested evidence of the impacts of plastic pollution into the hands of policymakers.
Stay safe and be kind out there!