Industry fears a surge in plastic use as consumers are unsure about the safety of reusable cups. This has prompted more than 100 health experts from 18 countries to sign a statement defending the safety of reusable coffee cups, bags, and containers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Experts including virologists, epidemiologists, emergency room doctors, and specialists in public health and food packaging safety signed and supported the statement released by Greenpeace and Upstream.
Members of the Break Free From Plastic movement assured retailers and consumers that reusable systems could be used safely by applying basic hygiene and creating contact-free options for customers’ bags and cups.
Charlotte K Williams, Professor of Chemistry at Oxford University and one of the signatories said that she hoped that experts can come out of the COVID-19 crisis more determined than ever to solve the fatal issues associated with plastics in the environment.
The statement noted that disposable products carry the same contact issues as reusables, and they cause additional public health concerns once discarded. The statement indicated that household disinfectants had been proven useful at disinfecting hard surfaces, which includes reusable cups.
The experts recommended applying best practice, including complying with food safety/health codes for sanitising, using additional hygienic practices during the pandemic, using contact-free systems, and ensuring that workers are adequately protected.
According to the experts, reusable items are safe to use when cleaned with soap and water, and there is no substitute for adhering to a thorough hygienic practice.