HOW DOES THE CURRENT PANDEMIC AFFECT THE BYOC MOVEMENT?
The recent global outbreak of COVID-19 has made the war against single-use plastics take a back-seat as health and safety is the top concern on consumers’ minds. What does this mean for the BYOC (bring your own cup) movement?
Societies around the world are facing a major shift in their lifestyles and life as we know is going to be different for a while.
Pirani Life was founded with a passion for sustainable living (especially choosing reusables over single-use). In light of the recent and disastrous viral outbreak, though, environmentalists and eco-warriors are required to weigh the costs.
The fight for a world without single-use plastic continues, but we stand at a strange cross-section in history, where we're required to put usual practices on hold and prioritize safety above all else.
SINGLE-USE PLASTICS - A LINGERING ISSUE
The hard facts remain. Industries across the continents produce about 300 million plastics a year. And half of those products are of the single-use variety. This remains a worrying statistic that cannot be ignored. Wasteful plastics pose a huge climate risk for us and our future generations.
According to National Geographic, approximately 9 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans, annually. In addition to that, the world uses 500-billion plastic cups every year.
Just as the BYOC movement has started to take motion, The recent outbreak has seen a revival of sorts - the renewed interests for single-use plastics.
While parts of our country were taking steps in the right direction such as companies allowing consumers to bring their own reusable cups and bags, other forces attempt to reverse the BYOC movement.
COVID-19 VS THE WAR AGAINST SINGLE-USE PLASTICS
The outbreak has led to a rise in the use of plastic products — especially disposables for hygiene purposes. Word on the street from all our beach clean-up eco-warriors is that disposable gloves are becoming the latest item littering our streets, which will eventually make their way into our waterways. While these items are necessary for protection, there is no excuse for the general public to not correctly dispose of them properly in order to uphold the safety of ourselves, others, and the environment. To learn more, check out this article featuring our friend Mariajose Algarra with @CleanthisBeachup in HuffPost.
Some organizations and individuals are taking advantage of the situation, re-introducing single-use products as saviors during the pandemic. Starbucks, known for pioneering the use of reusable cups, has suspended the practice to limit contact and the chances of contamination. The renewed interest in plastics comes at a bad time for New York City, challenging the recently imposed Bag Waste Reduction Law.
HOW TO BE ECO-FRIENDLY AND POSITIVE DURING THE QUARANTINE
While we urge each person to continue the struggle against single-use plastics, health and safety is the number one goal. #PartySustainably during isolated gatherings while also observing the basic hygiene practices put in place during the outbreak. We recommend owners of reusable products to ensure that they rinse their cups before and after use, regardless of the pandemic but definitely now more than ever.
It is undeniable that COVID-19 has led to a complex struggle between immediate societal concerns and long-term sustainability.
Is it okay to use reusable cups during coronavirus?
We should pause to consider the feasibility of single-use plastic. Do we really need them since we’re going to spend a major amount of time under home quarantine? Most of us will be spending time exclusively with our loved ones, away from the risks of external contamination.
Ways To Be Sustainable During Quarantine
The installation of a bidet can eliminate the need for toilet paper, food delivery provides the option to refuse disposable cutlery, we certainly don’t need plastic bags if we’re making every purchase online.
Grocery store won't take your reusable bags?
Bag your groceries at the car! It's quick and effortless and all you have to do is wheel your groceries out in the same wagon you shopped in.
Eco-sustainability is still doable and in fact, more practical than ever before (since retail and other communal activities are pretty much suspended until further notice). However, it is completely understandable if some people remain guarded on the topic.
The bottom line is, let’s do our part to stay safe through these trying times. Once the storm passes, we will rally ourselves stronger than ever before. We’ll create a zero-plastic, highly sustainable world, where humans are more united than ever before, upon the triumph over a common enemy.