A new report from the National Zero Waste Council shows that with proper precautions, there continue to be opportunities to use reusable items like shopping bags, refillable mugs and containers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reusable items are valuable assets in waste prevention and circular economy strategies, and before the pandemic, these items were becoming ubiquitous, in line with growing public concerns about single-use items and the negative impacts of plastic waste on marine ecosystems.
However, guidelines and precautions meant to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 created confusion about how safe it is to use reusable items.
To better understand the risks of reusables during the pandemic, as well as the long-term implications for their viability in retail settings, the Council contacted the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. The resulting report, Opportunities for reusables in retail settings during the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada: A review of guidance and evidence, was released in June.
Through this report, the Council hopes to contribute to a science-based understanding of the risks of using reusables during the COVID-19 pandemic and opportunities for retailers and consumers committed to expanding the use of reusables in the years to come.