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Media opportunity: Use of disposable plastics in food industry rose sharply during the pandemic, but Dalhousie study suggests it's time to move back to reusables in accordance with health guidelines
The spread of COVID-19 has caused a sharp spike in the use of single-use plastics (SUPs) as consumers look for ways to mitigate their risk of contracting the highly transmissible virus and follow public health guidelines.
At times during the pandemic, food services were limited to takeout options and personal reusable items were restricted, causing the consumption of disposable plastic products to increase dramatically. For many in the sector, the pandemic hit when they were trying to move away from SUPs.
Researchers at Dalhousie University examined the rise in SUPs during the pandemic by consulting with stakeholders from the food service sector about their use of disposable plastics, and developing opportunities to reduce their use in Nova Scotia.
In a new paper, they outline how the industry could limit its reliance on SUPs and reintroduce practices aimed at reducing the consumption of SUPs, understanding that health officials have confirmed that reusables are safe to use with proper sanitary precautions in place.
Two of the paper's co-authors, Tony Walker and Shen Molloy of Dalhousie's School for Resource and Environmental Studies, are available to discuss their findings and strategies the food sector could adopt to reduce its use of SUPs.
Tony Walker, PhD
Shen Molloy, MREM
Senior Research Reporter
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