Could Paper Straws be useful in the battle to combat COVID-19?
April 2020, the whole world was focused on one thing. Covid-19. This terrible virus sweeping through continents at an alarming rate, causing thousands of deaths and a dramatic economic slowdown as governments are forced to confine people to their homes.
As we head into our ninth week of isolation, we see that some countries around the world are now at a stage where they feel they can start to relax some of their strict lockdown regulations. Undoubtedly, it will be many months until things can return to any kind of normal and questions are being asked, as to what will this look like for the UK?
April 2020 also saw another significant change. A law came into effect, that in years to come will hopefully have a huge impact on our healing planet. As of now, the supply of plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds are banned in the UK. Not only will this help save our oceans from the millions of tonnes of plastic waste that find their way into the sea, but it also means that alternative products are being developed, that are much more environmentally friendly.
So how could paper straws play a part in stopping the spread of Covid-19? According to Griffith University’s associate professor of Environmental Health, Anne Roiko, once bars and restaurants start to reopen the potential for infection is significantly increased and every precaution must be taken to avoid a second wave of the virus.
Consuming drinks straight from cans or bottles brings with it its own risk of contamination. You have to assume that the virus could be present on the containers. Professor Roiko, therefore, suggests that paper straws may help prevent the spread of COVID-19. "Paper straws would be better than putting your lips on something that someone else has touched, but unless the straw is individually wrapped, and they have come in a big packet of straws then they have been handled too."
No doubt everyone wants to hear that we are starting to beat this virus and things will start to slowly return to a “new” normal. So, if using paper straws that have been individually wrapped will help in the fight, then that is something that we should all definitely consider.