When the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States, local governments and big companies quickly changed their tune on reducing single-use plastics. They started prohibiting cloth totes in grocery stores and rejecting reusable coffee mugs at cafes. They embraced disposables once again, seeing them as the safer, more hygienic option.
Maine delayed its plastic bag ban from April 2020 to January of next year. San Francisco in March instructed businesses to bar customers from using their own bags, mugs or other reusable items in order to promote social distancing. Meanwhile, Starbucks (SBUX) stopped allowing people to use their own mugs, and McDonald’s (MCD) decided to close self-serve soda fountains as it reopens its doors.