Single-Use Plastics & Plastic Bag Bans: What do we think of this now?
The New York State plastic bag ban couldn’t have come at a worse time amidst the constant worry of the spread of the Coronavirus, now known as COVID-19. Reusable shopping bags are known to harbor bacteria3 since most people do not wash the bags in between grocery trips. Microbiologists have found E. coli, salmonella, fecal coliform, and other harmful bacteria in reusable bags if they are not properly sanitized after each use.7
New York State officials have announced they will NOT enforce the state’s controversial plastic bag ban until May 15.1 Maine lawmakers also voted to postpone the state’s plastic bag ban until 2021.1
With single-use plastics and plastic bag bans popping up in cities all over the country lately, it’s hard not to assume that plastics are evil, as so many Americans seem to believe. But, you must admit, single-use plastics serve an invaluable purpose in today’s society.
While we are on the topic, how is everyone feeling about any kind of single-use plastics? Most restaurants around the country are closed to the public or only serving takeout/delivery right now. But, some are still serving patrons in-house. Let me ask you, would you prefer to drink directly out of the glasses they provide and trust that they completely sanitized it, or would you like one of those taboo plastic straws? Or plastic tableware? How do you feel about those single-use plastic items now?
Have you noticed that the test kits that are being used for COVID-19 appear to be a plastic tube of some type? How would you feel if these were not single-use plastics and had to be washed between patients and used again? Do you still feel the same about single-use plastics? Even Homeland Security is now saying that some single-use plastics are considered essential critical infrastructure.9
And, think about how much waste we are producing? We are sanitizing everything with either sanitizing wipes or liquid/spray sanitizer. Throwing away paper towel after paper towel since we are wiping down everything every second. Ever notice that all of those items are packaged in PLASTIC. I don’t see anyone complaining about plastics now, when folks are buying hand sanitizer in bulk, etc.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not bashing the public for buying these products, nor am I praising the plastics industry for making so many single-use plastics. I am merely pointing out the fact that right now, I am thankful that single-use plastics exist in certain situations as a matter of public health and safety. Plastics aren’t always bad. I hope America heeds the warnings and practices all of the things that CDC is suggesting we do to remain healthy and suppress this pandemic the best we can.
If you want to continue to use your reusable shopping bags, great. Just remember to wash them. Here are some tips on how to wash reuseable shopping bags.5