One of the many outcomes from COVID-19 is a surge in plastic waste. Extra cautious sanitisation and hygiene has appeared to translate to an increase in single-use products. Some, are suggesting that equating single-use to hygiene is a myth. Regardless of your position here, I'm sure we can all agree that the fight against our plastic pollution crisis is now more pressing and more urgent.
Fortunately, reusable items are not unsafe even amid the coronavirus pandemic. More than 100 scientists have come together to sign and publish a statement that says that reusable products are safe to use during the pandemic, as long as proper hygiene is adhered to.
The statement suggests that disposable products in fact present many of the same issues as reusable ones. It also said that "single-use plastic is not inherently safer than reusables, and causes additional public health concerns once it is discarded".
The shift back to single-use products like coffee cups during the height of the pandemic has allowed "convenience culture" to creep back into the norm. So, it's now more important than ever for us to remember the Plastic Free July movement.
Plastic Free July is a campaign that started in 2011. The Plastic Free Foundation behind the movement hopes to one day achieve a world free of plastic waste. The Plastic Free July campaign challenges people to refuse to accept single-plastic throughout the month of July to promote living in a healthly and sustainable way.
To help get behind the movement, KeepCup reached out to its friends in the café industry, here in Australia. They asked for the recommendations as to how you can help them, while supporting reuseable items - and your local businesses:
- Wash your reusable items in the dishwasher or handwash with detergent.
- Hand over your clean and dry KeepCup, keeping hold of the lid.
- For a no touch solution, decant coffee from a reusable café cup to your KeepCup.
- Wash your hands with soap and water. Sanitise if no soap and water is available.
Remember, it takes some plastic over a thousand year to decompose in landfill - and landfill itself is one of the biggest causes of greenhouse gas emissions. Every piece of rubbish you can keep out of the bin is a step towards keeping our planet alive.