Single-use plastic in the pandemic: How has Covid-19 impacted the plastic waste movement so far

With the unfortunate occurrence of Covid-19 impacting everyone in the world, our use of single-use plastics has increased to try and prevent the spread of the virus. This meant we’ve seen an increase in virgin plastics. 

It’s reported that the virus could live on paper, cardboard and fabrics for 24 hours, but up to 72 hours on plastics and surfaces. By being able to once again throw away items immediately after use, the risk of someone contracting the virus from being on an item was reduced. 

With the effects of plastic waste becoming increasingly visible around the world, our throw-away culture has been on the decline over the last two decades. With campaigns and initiatives like Plastic Free July and Zero Waste Lifestyles, it’s becoming unavoidable to remain unaware of the detrimental effects plastic waste is still having. 

Without prioritising responsible disposal of this sudden influx of new plastic, Covid-19 will have caused a spike specifically in plastic waste. 

Positively from the pandemic, we can look at the rise in consumers choosing better, healthy and more responsible alternatives. By cutting out plastic all together, the potential of contact massively reduces. Reusable shopping bags, bulk buying and zero waste stores all provide the best solutions for combating the manufacturing of virgin plastic without the risk of virus contamination. 

At Bower Collective, the recognition that all companies need to promote and strive for a sustainable future is at the forefront of our ethics. Waste doesn’t have to be a consequence of consumerism. 

We, as consumers, are now able to buy our most essential products without plastic wrapping. An Organic Cotton Produce Bag not only stops you from picking up a plastic bag to collect your veggies or fruit in, but is sold in a cardboard sleeve and not plastic. Have you ever fallen foul of buying an item because of its eco-friendly credentials, for it then to arrive at your home wrapped in plastic? 

Items like these can be washed and reused for a lifetime. Completely replacing the need for single-use plastic in this scenario. The final benefit of a product manufactured of a natural material is it’s 100% biodegradable. 

This type of switch can make a considerable impact on our environment. Plastic is found everywhere to make our lives more ‘convenient’. But the pandemic has shown us that not only do we need to think before touching anything, we can easily switch items to reduce our contribution to pollution. 

Alternatives are continually being researched. As many of us have been unable to leave the house, Bower Collective offers easy access to more sustainable options. Bulk buying items, the use of zero waste stores and elective recycling return schemes offer consumers greater flexibility in instilling better environmental practices in their daily lives. 

Hand sanitiser have become a staple for everyone who leaves their home, as well as shops, markets, play parks and many other places have to provide it for their customers and users. The majority of these product are sold in a plastic bottle, with a plastic lid.

The Bower Collective Reuse and Refill scheme eradicates the constant production of plastic. It also benefits a consumer with peace of mind as products mailed come into less contact with other people. 

The Bower Refillable Hand Sanitiser Gel comes in a glass bottle and is designed to be refilled with the Hand Sanitiser Gel Refill Pouch. Each refill pouch contains 4 refills for the bottle and would last an average of 2 months. The pouches, like all the Bower Collective refills, can be sent back in the prepaid mail slip whenever is convenient. Once back with Bower, it’s sterilised, recycled and used again! 

The hope is that the pandemic has brought new habits for everyone's day to day life. If these habits remain, less plastic will be produced. Reusing and refilling products reduces the amount of waste and as many consumers have found, is much more cost efficient. 

The rise in single-use plastic is going to have a negative impact on the environment if we don’t prioritise responsible disposal. But by continuing on and inspiring others to instill habits of using less plastic in our daily lives, there will be a positive effect. 

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