Jun 9, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Federal government to phase out single-use plastics at national parks

Bison roam on February 1, 2022 in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. (Photo by William Campbell/Getty Images)

The Department of the Interior plans to phase out single-use plastics by 2032 on its land and facilities, including the country's national parks.

The big picture: The announcement, made on World Ocean Day, said the department would find alternative materials to disposable plastics, such as cutlery, bags, cups, bottles, straws and food containers.

  • It's part of President Biden's executive order, which calls for federal agencies to minimize waste and support markets for recycled products, according to the Interior Department's statement.

What they're saying: "The Interior Department has an obligation to play a leading role in reducing the impact of plastic waste on our ecosystems and our climate," Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement on Wednesday.

  • "As the steward of the nation’s public lands, including national parks and national wildlife refuges, and as the agency responsible for the conservation and management of fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats, we are uniquely positioned to do better for our Earth," she added.

By the numbers: At least 14 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year, according to the department.

  • Plastic makes up 80% of all marine debris found from surface waters to deep-sea sediments.

Go deeper: Global plastic waste expected to nearly triple by 2060

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