Coronavirus Boosts Plastics Industry Outlook

Coronavirus Boosts Plastics Industry Outlook

It seems like forever ago when Katherine Martinko wrote: Don't let this pandemic ruin the fight against single-use plastics.

"The plastics industry is taking advantage of the current crisis to warn people against reusable bags and containers, saying they're potential vectors for contamination and that disposables are a safer option."

It turns out that she was right to worry; polystyrene sales volumes have increased by double digits. According to Andrew Marc Noel of Bloomberg, "a renewed commitment to hygiene is propping up sales of previously out-of-favor plastics like polystyrene, as consumers relegate environmental priorities while trying to stay clear of the coronavirus." Apparently, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security declaring the making of some single-use materials as “essential critical infrastructure.”

There is the unavoidable increase in the use of plastics for disposable medical protective gear, but also a dramatic increase in the consumption of single-use plastics. Meanwhile, states are rolling back bans on single-use plastic bags, (New Hampshire actually banned reusable bags) and the big companies are talking up the benefits.

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