Environmental efforts across the U.S. to ban plastic bags might be growing especially in the coronavirus pandemic. As more Oklahomans and others across the U.S. resort to certain foods and other necessities being shipped to their doorsteps, they’re finding more paper surrounding their purchased products.
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu announced last week that reusable bags will be temporarily banned during the COVID-19 outbreak, and that all retail stores will be required to use single-use paper or plastic bags.
The move is a dramatic reversal of the recent trend of states and municipalities banning single-use plastic bags. Over the past few years, Hawaii, California, and more recently Oregon and New York have prohibited the use of plastic bags. The bans are an effort to reduce plastic pollution, which is driven by single-use plastics like shopping bags and has taken a terrible toll on ocean ecosystems.
Days of popping the bubble wrap might be gone.
However, plastic bag proponents see an opportunity in the coronavirus pandemic to push single-use plastics. In a letter obtained by POLITICO and sent to the Department of Health and Human Services last week, the Plastics Industry Association requests a public statement from the department endorsing the idea that single-use plastics are the safest choice amid the pandemic.
In New York, New Jersey and other states, the plastics industry and some GOP lawmakers are calling for rollbacks or easing of prohibitions on single-use plastic bags, arguing that often-unwashed reusable bags are hotbeds for the coronavirus.