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U.S. to ban sale of single-use plastic on public lands, national parks by 2032


Big Cypress National Preserve Park: Trash and sawgrass

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U.S. Interior Department said on Wednesday it will phase out the sale of single-use plastic products in national parks and other public lands by 2032, in an attempt to mitigate a major contributor to plastic pollution as the country’s recycling rate continues to decline.

Deb Haaland, Interior Secretary issued an order to reduce the procurement, sale and distribution of single-use plastic products and packaging on more than 480 million acres of public lands, and to identify alternatives like compostable or biodegradable materials.

It would help reduce the 14 million tonnes of plastics that are discarded into the sea each year. Single-use plastic products are items which can be disposed immediately following use. These include plastic and polystyrene plastic containers and beverages, plastic straws and cups, plastic cutlery, and plastic bags.

To reduce the waste and costs of recycling, some parks implemented a ban in 2011 on water bottle sales. The restrictions led to annual savings in the amount of $1.7 million. up to two million water bottlesThe ban was repealed by the Trump Administration six years later.

America is the biggest producer of plastic waste in the world. The country’s recycling rate fell to between 5% and 6% last year, according to estimations in a reportLast Beach Clean Up, Beyond Plastics reported that some countries have stopped accepting U.S. exports of waste and that waste levels are at new heights.

Interior claimed it had produced almost 80,000 tonnes municipal solid waste over the fiscal year 2020.

Haaland stated in a statement that the Interior Department is required to reduce plastic waste’s impact on climate and ecosystems.

“Today’s Order will make sure that Department’s sustainable plans include bold actions to phase out single-use products, as we strive to preserve our natural environment.