The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the conversation around single use plastics. Due to the highly infectious nature of COVID-19, there has been a huge increase in demand for plastic raw materials needed to produce essential personal protective equipment such as single use gowns, gloves, masks and face shields. There has also been increased demand for plastic ventilator components and single-use packaging for medical equipment.
Consumer habits have also changed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. While there had been a trend towards purchasing loose produce to cut down on plastic packaging, many consumers are now opting to purchase pre-packaged fruit and vegetables out of fear of contamination. Some in the plastics industry have lobbied for plastic bag bans to be suspended or removed entirely during the pandemic. Although the COVID-19 virus can survive on plastic for 2-3 days, many have argued that plastic bags are a safer option than reusable bags as they can be discarded after use.
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