The coronavirus pandemic is generating a rising tide in all things plastic.
Some increases have been driven by necessity: Personal protective equipment (PPE) of masks, gloves, gowns and visors have been crucial in protecting medical staff and other frontline workers from Covid-19 transmission.
Other spikes in single-use plastics are a reaction to navigating a new world of potential risks. Plastic bag bans have been reversed or delayed in some countries and in US states due to hygiene fears over reusable alternatives.
Many restaurants and fast food chains have swung to take-out operations, bringing with them a mountain of disposable utensils and containers. Major players, like Starbucks, Dunkin and McDonald’s, have put a hold on bring-your-own reusable cups.
With the price for virgin, or non-recycled, plastic now at historic lows and oil demand reduced, environmentalists fear that producers will pump out cheap plastic to stoke demand and soak up some of