On a High Note: Knocking Single-Use Plastics Out of the Parks
There is no great future for plastics, at least not in America’s national parks. Last week, the Department of the Interior announced it will begin phasing out the sale and distribution of single-use plastics at all national parks and public lands by 2032. National Parks and public land managers will have 270 days to present their plans.
The decision comes after an Oceana poll conducted last January found that 82% of Americans would support such measures and on top of a decades-long battle by national parks. On a macro level, the announcement is in line with the growing movement to reduce plastic pollution, as experts dub it the "new coal” due to its outsized carbon footprint.
In the early 2010s, both Grand Canyon and Zion National Park banned single-use plastic within their boundaries, but President Trump revoked the authority of individual parks to prohibit plastic in 2017. Things have changed yet once again. On Wednesday, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said in a statement, "The Interior Department has an obligation to play a leading role in reducing the impact of plastic waste on our ecosystems and our climate.”
Forbes: US Phasing Out SIngle-Use Plastics On Public Lands By 2032, June 8, 2022.
UNEP: Global Plastic Pollution Agreement - A historic moment, March 2, 2022.
PBS: How the Plastics Industry Used Recycling to Fend Off Bans, March 31, 2021.
The Story of Stuff Project: The Story of Plastic, April 21, 2021.
Our Changing Climate: Why Plastic Pollution Is Even Worse Than You Think, April 23, 2021.