We need to end the ban on reusable cups and mugs – University of Brighton

Man holding resusable coffee cup

Why we should end the pandemic ban on reusable cups and mugs

Recently washed cups and mugs are likely to be safer in preventing the spread of the coronavirus than single-use containers that could have been sitting around for ages, according to a leading Brighton virologist.

Many outlets have stopped using reusables to serve drinks in favour of single use containers in the belief they pose a lower risk of transmitting COVID-19.

Dr Sarah Pitt

But Dr Sarah Pitt, Principal Lecturer in microbiology and biomedical science practice at the University of Brighton, believes reusables are safer and unlikely to contribute to the further spread of the disease. And, she said, using countless numbers of single-use plastic containers is creating a mountain of waste.

Dr Pitt, writing in The Conversation, said deposits of saliva left on a cup could carry the virus but it becomes inactive when it comes into contact with detergent. Using soap on hands, disinfectant on surfaces and washing-up liquid on cups and plates are effective killers.

“This is because the virus is surrounded by a fatty envelope which must be intact for the virus to remain infectious. This is readily disrupted by detergent, such as washing-up liquid. This means reusable containers could actually be safer if they are regularly and properly washed than single-use ones that may have been exposed to the environment for a long time and not washed before use.”

Dr Pitt, Fellow of the Institute of Biomedical Science

As for pubs, Dr Pitt said: “Perhaps it’s time to revive the tradition of bringing your own beer tankard.”

To view Dr Pitt’s full article, click here.

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