Brighton academic expert calls for end to coronavirus ban on reusable cups

Posted On 08 Jul 2020 at 4:50 pm

Sarah Pitt

An expert from Brighton University has called for an end to the coronavirus pandemic ban on reusable cups and mugs.

Leading virologist Sarah Pitt said that recently washed cups and mugs were likely to be safer in preventing the spread of the coronavirus than single-use containers which could have been sitting around for ages.

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

Dr Pitt, principal lecturer in microbiology and biomedical science practice at Brighton University, said that reusables were safer and unlikely to contribute to the further spread of the disease.

And, she said, using countless numbers of single-use plastic containers was creating a mountain of waste.

Dr Pitt spelt out her concerns in the Conversation, an online publisher of news, comment and analysis written by academics and researchers.

She said that deposits of saliva left on a cup could carry the virus but it would become inactive when it came into contact with detergent.

Using soap on hands, disinfectant on surfaces and washing-up liquid on cups and plates were effective killers, she added.

Dr Pitt, a fellow of the Institute of Biomedical Science, said: “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.”

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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