Plastic bans lose support as Canadians put COVID-19 concerns first


Right up there with buffet tables, shared utensils and sampling stations, reusable cups and containers were among the first food-related casualties of COVID-19. In early March, companies including Bulk Barn and Starbucks suspended the use of reusable vessels over contagion concerns. As the outbreak edged towards a pandemic, this pause hinted at the sweeping changes to come. In the intervening months, flats of bottled water, cup lids, and disposable cutlery and containers have fed into an ever-growing raft of plastic waste. “I remember going to a coffee shop and them saying, ‘We can’t fill your cup,’” says Robert Kitz, research associate at Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab (AAL). “I think it was mere days later everything was shutting down. But that was the first little tiny step, was reusable coffee cups.”

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