As we have all experienced the pandemic has created massive alterations to our daily activities, at least those not curtailed entirely. Federal and local government restrictions in the name of public safety have led to adaptions in our normal routines, but those governments are facing some challenges in policy as well.

While a wide number of new policies and executive orders are being passed on a rapid and regular basis some governments are facing the reality that they have to actually oppose some of their own legislation. For example, sweeping changes to our shopping and dining methods involving disposable items made in the name of saving the planet are being pushed aside.

It was less than 2 years ago that California had loudly made the ban on plastic straws into a law. It was going to go so far with enforcement as to press charges against servers who distributed plastic straws to customers. This fell in line with the state also imposing a ”tax” on plastic bags, where customers were not automatically given a single-use bag for items and charged $0.10 for every bag used. Those mandates have been rolled back today.

As California led the way with some of the most strident lockdown orders it soon began to run into a challenge — itself. When dine-in seating had been banned from restaurants and those allowed to remain open could only provide take-out services, which required that those eateries were essentially forced to revert to offering the scourge of disposable items.

This means that in California they had to defy laws meant to save the environment and save lives in order to use plastic in order to save lives. Disposable and styrofoam cups can be seen again, plastic straws are once again offered citation-free, and plastic bags are no longer being surcharged.

Some of the very solutions to the prior mandates, in fact, became problems in need of the new legislation to address the pandemic.  The reusable bags that customers have been required to use now have now been banned from stores in SanFrancisco. At Target they have removed the recycling bins for plastic bags. And the practice of reusing your own permanent drinkware is no longer permitted in some coffee shops.

A number of states with current or proposed plastic legislation have made alterations due to the outbreak. Like California in Illinois, they have rescinded the bag-tax. Other states with proposed laws have moved those plans forward. New York’s law was being challenged with a court case, which has become delayed by the virus conditions.

It is a curiosity to see these locations which have demonized plastic as a scourge of mankind now resorting to requiring its usage…in order to save mankind.

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