Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the consumption of plastic products had surged with an estimated 1.6 million tonnes/day plastic wastes generated worldwide since the outbreak. In Malaysia, much of the plastics consumed are single-use items that are not recyclable, such as face masks and food containers contaminated with residues.
Concerns over the role of reusable products as vectors for the SARS-CoV-2 virus had led to some stores globally to put a halt on initial plans to ban single-use items and in some cases even reversed the ban and prohibited the usage of reusables.
Claims made on the apparent “hygiene” of single-use items however are disputable. Studies have shown that viruses may persist on surfaces for a certain duration, and plastics are not excluded. The SARS-CoV-2 persists just as long on plastics as it does on other surfaces.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has affirmed that it is “highly unlikely” for infections to occur via food or food packaging and that currently there is no evidence of such occurrence. This applies to single-use and reusable packaging.
Ultimately reusable items are safe to use when cleaned with soap and water, and there is no substitute for thorough hygiene. Source reduction or preventing waste should be the number one priority for addressing waste. Shift from single-use items. Transition to reusable and refillable.
#WeChooseReusables #NoToSingleUse #breakfreefromplastic
 Benson, N. U., Bassey, D. E., & Palanisami, T. (2021). Heliyon COVID pollution : impact of COVID-19 pandemic on global plastic waste footprint. Heliyon, 7 (January), e06343. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2021.e06343
 Covid-19 threatens to derail plastic reduction efforts. (2020). The Sun Daily. https://www.thesundaily.my/local/covid-19-threatens-to-derail-plastic-reduction-efforts-MC5499790
 Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1. (2020). The New England Journal of Medicine. N Engl J Med 2020; 382:1564-1567 https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmc2004973
 World Health Organization & Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (2020). COVID-19 and food safety: guidance for food businesses: interim guidance, 07 April 2020. World Health Organization. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/331705. License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO