Scientists point the way to making reusable packaging safe from COVID-19

The outbreak of COVID-19 and its spread over the past several months has resulted in various measures being taken to stop the spread of the disease. One of the methods involves restaurants and cafes not accepting customers personal containers and using environmentally-friendly packaging instead, including conventional plastic, increasing convenience and preventing the spread of disease.

But this prompted more than 119 scientists from 18 countries around the world to sign a statement noting that “due to the best scientific processes and recommendations of public health experts, reusable packaging can be reused once washed thoroughly.”

Charlotte K Williams, professor of chemistry at Oxford University, and one of the co-authors of the statement, said, “I hope we can come out of the COVID-19 crisis more determined than ever to solve the pernicious problems associated with plastics in the environment. In terms of the general public’s response to the COVID crisis, we should make every attempt to avoid over-consumption of single-use plastics, particularly in applications like packaging.”

Scientists also state the evidence suggests the virus spreads through droplets and inhalation rather than from touching various surfaces. And the period of time that the virus can stick to a surface depends on the kind of material. This raises the question as to whether packaging can be used repeatedly or not depending on surface stability. What we should do is to regularly clean packaging that we reuse.

Popular cafes such as Café Amazon and Inthanin have reopened with an aim to be greener by providing a discount on beverages to encourage consumers to bring their own reusable cups or flasks. But the most important thing is that we all have to work towards the common good and always clean the reusable packaging that we use for both our own safety, and to help the planet.

COVID-19 has resulted in some limitations in our lives. However, protecting the environment should always be our top priority. The hundreds of scientists from around the world who stepped up to support this idea will certainly give many of us peace of mind knowing that all of us can do our part to help preserve the planet.