Pandemic deals blow to plastic bag bans, plastic reduction

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Just weeks ago, cities and even states across the U.S. were busy banning straws, limiting takeout containers and requiring shoppers to bring reusable bags or pay a small fee. The pandemic is quickly changing that. Massachusetts and Illinois just temporarily banned reusable bags in grocery stores, and Oregon this week put a pause on its new plastic bag ban as the coronavirus rages. The plastics industry has seized the moment and is lobbying to overturn existing bans on single-use plastics. Environmentalists worry that COVID-19, and the fear it engenders, could set back the movement to eliminate single-use plastics for years.