by Jess Green, Business Development Sector Lead

As lockdown measures are eased, one adverse side effect has been an increase in widespread cases of littering at beauty spots and public spaces. Whilst much of this is down to individual behaviours, Covid-19 has had an impact. The tainted use of reusables and increase in waste across the last few weeks has occurred as all manner of reuse habits that just a few months ago might have been considered environmentally worthy now invoke a germaphobic fear response.

Some food establishments, for example, have chosen to stop accepting reusable containers and cups during the coronavirus pandemic. Supermarket delivery services notably stopped charging for single-use carrier bags, and even shopping with a reusable bag sparked concern for some shopping outlets for fear of transmitting germs throughout the store.

However, experts say that these fears are unfounded. In a new statement, scientists say that reusable items do not increase the chance of transmission of the coronavirus and are completely safe to use by employing basic hygiene. More than 100 scientists from 18 countries published a signed statement to reassure that reusable items are safe to use during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The experts say that any public surface, whether reusable or not, can be contaminated with the virus, but the problem for reusables can be solved by employing basic hygiene. Washing reusable containers thoroughly with hot water and detergent will be an effective measure against contamination, meaning there is no reason to worry about reusables.

It is often forgotten that reusing goods and packaging as many times as possible is one of the greenest practices there is. To name just a few benefits, it’s less expensive, it uses less energy, it causes less pollution, it encourages quality over quantity, and it is more responsible. The conclusion represents the hope that the environmental battle against single-use plastic waste will be able to overcome lost ground due to unfounded fears over coronavirus contamination.

Here at RPD, we do a lot of work designing projects that encourage sustainable behaviour. We have a long list of projects like this, working with businesses to work out how to make packaging and devices sustainable. We are looking for businesses that we can collaborate with to achieve this, particularly focussing on where new products can change behaviour.

Our focus is on the gap between the idea and market. We’re set up to make the development, prototyping and supply chain setup process as simple as possible. Particularly in this market, the capability for taking ideas forward to initial supply chain trials has been the biggest barrier to action.

If you have an innovation based on sustainability, or you are wondering how to develop your product, RPD is here to help. We support businesses through all stages, whether assessing feasibility, taking ideas from concept to mass-manufacture, setting up supply-chains, or assisting investors in evaluating opportunities. Get in touch today!