Giving Compass' Take:

• Katherine Martinko recaps certain shops' and stores' policy changes to disallow personal containers.

• How might the coronavirus affect businesses around the world permanently? How can we help to carry out important facets of life in a normal fashion in spite of the growing outbreak?

• Understand the importance of a resilient mindset as the virus expands its reach.

Coronavirus has become a major inconvenience for many industries, but one movement that's set to suffer greatly is zero waste. Just as people were starting to get the message to bring their own cups and containers to coffee shops, restaurants, and grocery stores, businesses are now changing their policies and banning personal containers in hopes of minimizing the risk of cross-contamination.

While some readers might consider these moves an overreaction, there is some sense in them, particularly the coffee cups. It doesn't seem like a great time to be passing people's saliva-tainted containers from hand to hand. But when it comes to stores like Bulk Barn, I'd be more concerned about all the food bins at perfect kid height, where anyone can breathe, sneeze, or cough into them, and the scoops used to transfer food, regardless of the container or bag that's being filled.

What I do think this crisis indicates, however, is the need for coffee shops to have better in-house reusable cup programs, so that they are not dependent on customers to bring their own in order to reduce waste and have the necessary tools to sanitize appropriately. Any non-fast food restaurant knows this is possible, as they clean dinner plates and cutlery daily without needing to switch to paper plates and disposable cutlery in a time of impending crisis.

In the meantime, we don't know what the future holds, and all of this might blow over quickly (or not), but I suspect Bonneau is right when she says people will likely avoid coffee shops as a precautionary measure, staying home and brewing their own cups of coffee and tea, while saving money at the same time.

Read the full article about the coronavirus and zero waste policies by Katherine Martinko at TreeHugger.