Coronavirus Questions: Reusables Can be the Solution

Friday, March 27th, 2020

At S’well, we are proud that our products can help reduce the use of single-use plastic around the globe. While the pandemic is at the center of our every thought and action right now, many scientists and experts still claim that climate change is a far greater threat. 

With that in mind, we want to help spread the message that reusables are safe to use during this uncertain time in our lives. Our friends at UPSTREAM recently created a list of questions people are asking. We’ve repurposed some of their content here to help share information about how we can take care of ourselves now – and still play a part in helping our planet’s future. 

Read on to learn more about why reusables are safe, and potentially ever safer to use, to help the spread of viruses: 

Are reusables safe for me and my family?

Yes. Soap and hot water are effective at killing coronavirus, other viruses and bacteria. High temperatures and prolonged washing make for more effective cleaning. Don’t forget to clean the outside of you and your kids stainless steel water bottles, as germs can linger!

Aren’t disposables more safe?

Not when compared to properly washed reusables. Single-use disposables can harbor viruses and pathogenic bacteria. They are subject to whatever pathogens have settled on them from manufacture, transport, inventory stocking and eventual use. In addition, according to a recently-released peer-reviewed scientific consensus statement, over 12,000 chemicals are used in food packaging, and many of them are hazardous to human health. Migration of these toxic chemicals out of disposables into our food and drinks is not an issue with non-plastic reusables. 

Can I use my reusable water bottle or coffee cup?

Absolutely. Coronavirus mainly spreads through coughs and sneezes. The best water refill options when you’re out and on-the-go are hands-free electronic water refilling stations like you see at the airport. If you don’t have easy access to one of these, then you can use the tap or the water cooler. Just don’t let your water bottle directly touch the spigot, and be mindful about washing your hands for at least 20 seconds after touching communal surfaces.

Will coronavirus kill the growing zero waste lifestyle, built on bring-your-own (BYO), reuse, and bulk shopping?

The zero waste lifestyle is here to stay and is gaining more traction every day. And there’s a reusable item for all occasions from kids snack containers to insulated tumblers. While the coronavirus will change many things in our lives for a time, it won’t change our core values like working for healthy people, a healthy planet and a sustainable economy.