Report highlights reusable models that can instill confidence during the pandemic
by Perry Wheeler
August 25, 2020
Greenpeace report responds to surge in plastic waste
Washington, DC – Greenpeace USA released a report today highlighting various reuse and refill models around the globe that have continued or can be used during the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring strong sanitization or contactless systems for containers. The report, Reusables Are Doable, assures restaurants, retailers, and consumer goods companies that a pandemic does not need to mean shifting toward widespread disposable plastic that threatens the environment and the health of communities worldwide.
“Reusable systems are not only possible during a global pandemic, they are needed more than ever,” said Greenpeace USA Plastics Campaigner David Pinsky. “Communities of color on the frontlines of the plastic pollution crisis face increased risks from COVID-19, but the plastics industry continues to churn out dangerous throwaway products and claim they are safe. It is time for restaurants, retailers, and large brands to end their reliance on useless plastic packaging, bags, and containers once and for all.”
Greenpeace’s report features a number of reusable systems globally that can instill confidence during the pandemic. Those systems include:
- Contactless coffee systems have been embraced by hundreds of cafes worldwide to minimize waste. With this system, a customer places their reusable container on the counter, backs away, and allows the barista to fill it with a separate cup that doesn’t touch the customer’s.
- Loop, which launched in 2019, offering well-known grocery brands to customers in reusable containers. The company collects used containers, sanitizes them according to FDA standards, and uses them for future products. Loop has reported a sales increase during COVID-19.
- The Wally Shop, which recently expanded to nationwide operations, and Zero, which also offer grocery delivery with reusable containers.
- To-go reusable models, such as CupClub, which enable customers to borrow a reusable cup, use it, then return it at a dropoff point to be cleaned.
- Takeout meal systems, such as Dispatch Goods, which partner with local restaurants to provide meals in reusable containers that customers return for commercial cleaning.
- Algramo, based in Chile, which uses vending machines and an electric vehicle delivery service that allows people to pay for only the amount of product they need in reusable containers.
The report urges governments and businesses to move away from single-use plastics, as plastic production continues to fuel the climate crisis and harm low-income and Black and Brown communities already disproportionately suffering from COVID-19. Greenpeace notes that reusable systems can protect workers, customers, and our environment by meeting basic hygiene and distancing requirements. New and expanded reusable systems can also help to get people back to work after the pandemic in strong, union jobs that also protect our planet.
Early in the pandemic, the plastic industry and its surrogates worked to exploit fears around COVID-19 to demonize reusables and expand disposable plastics. Since then, 130 health experts have weighed in to detail how reusables can be used safely during a pandemic. There are no documented cases of COVID-19 from surface contact.
Greenpeace does not endorse any of the companies or products mentioned in the report. The examples included are solely to illustrate the types of systems that can instill confidence.
To read the full Greenpeace USA report, click here: https://www.greenpeace.org/
Contact: Perry Wheeler, Greenpeace USA Senior Communications Specialist, P: 301-675-8766