Plastic bags banned in several cities due to coronavirus pandemic

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The plastics industry has seized a new opportunity to reverse a recently implemented plastic ban in the United States amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Several weeks ago, states like California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon, and Vermont implemented a statewide plastic bag ban, and customers are required to bring their own reusable bags to the grocery store or pay a small fee for each bag that is required. New laws in Oregon and California have also limited the use of plastic straws in bars and restaurants.

BAN ON NEW YORK PLASTIC BAG FRUSTRATE MANY PURCHASES

Many restaurants across the country have been forced to close their doors to customers to stop the spread of the coronavirus and are only allowed to offer takeout options. Store owners said plastics are cheaper than their eco-friendly counterparts, and already struggling businesses have struggled to stock up on more biodegradable options.

Biodegradable take-out and delivery containers can cost up to three times more than plastic.

Lobbyists have argued that disposable plastics are the safest option during the global crisis, as opposed to reusable materials.

The Plastics Industry Association recently sent a letter to Alex Azar, head of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and asked him to speak out against the ban on plastic bags as they put consumers and workers at risk. The American Recyclable Plastic Bag Alliance is doubling its opposition to bans on plastic bags in a pre-existing campaign called Bag the Ban.

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A study by the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that the new coronavirus can stay on plastics and stainless steel for up to three days and on cardboard for one day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it seems possible that someone could get COVID-19 by touching a surface on which the virus is located and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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