Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force: Policy Prescriptions to Address Economic and Health Care Challenges in the Face of COVID-19
The Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force explains why single-use plastic bags are ideal during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Single-Use Plastic Bans and ALEC’s Auxiliary Container Act
Reusable plastic bags have the potential to spread the COVID-19 virus. While there is not specific evidence of transmission from reusable bags leading to any cases yet, the National Institutes of Health reports that it can live on plastic surfaces for 2 or 3 days. In addition to viruses, bacteria can linger on reusable plastic bags and consumers often neglect to clean them. A 2011 study of reusable bags found that only 3% of consumers regularly wash them, 99% percent of bags tested positive for bacteria, and 8% of bags carried E. coli. Amid shutdowns of non-essential businesses, it makes since to also stop the potential spread of the virus by having people use disposable plastic or paper bags.
Maine enacted a single-use plastic ban last year that was set to go into effect in April but early this month voted to delay the ban until next year. New York’s Department of Environmental Quality delayed enforcement of its single-use bag ban until at least May 15. New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu ordered grocery only use single-use plastic or paper bags instead of reusable bags.
Policy prescriptions developed by our members can be found in ALEC Connect.