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New report on plastics refutes false claims on reusables

Typing Letter to the Editor for the Opinion page.

We are in the middle of a health emergency, however, what happens to the environment still matters. Plastics are still getting into our waterways and landfills, and clogging storm drains.

The plastics industry was trying to use COVID-19 as a campaign to block bans on single-use plastic. A new report by 118 health experts and UPSTREAM shows that reusables are still safe to use during the pandemic.

This report shines a spotlight on their misinformation by showing that reusable products like cups and bags, or reusable plates and cutlery at restaurants, aren’t any more dangerous than single-use.

This is a time we should be pulling together, but the New Jersey Food Council is cynically manipulating the situation for themselves and the plastics industry. They are using the coronavirus as an excuse to get rid of reusable products.

This report cites research that shows the virus can live for up to six days on plastic, but may only live on cloth up to one day. People should be allowed to use their own reusable bags or containers and serve themselves, and then clean and reuse them.

This is critical as the New Jersey Legislature considers a statewide plastic bag ban. We have been fighting to get this bill passed for over two years.

This comprehensive statewide ban will help protect our rivers and streams from plastic that not only hurts the environment, but also endangers our wildlife and public health.

The Assembly must work quickly to get this to the governor’s desk to sign before our plastic waste problem gets worse. We cannot afford to wait any longer.

Jeff Tittel
New Jersey Sierra Club

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