With Valentine’s Day approaching, I want to highlight a particular relationship that’s gone on for too long: It’s unhealthy, draining, and it gets worse every minute. I’m talking about industry’s relationship with single-use plastic.
Like a problematic partner, single-use plastic is everywhere. Its remnants have crept into the ends of the Earth, from the Mariana Trench to air in the highest, remotest mountains. It’s so clingy that it’s now undeniable that we’re eating, breathing, and drinking plastic. It’s infiltrated our soil, food, drinking water, and air.
Plastic is also suffocating — quite literally. A 2020 Oceana report found that nearly 1,800 animals from 40 different species swallowed or became entangled in plastic in U.S. waters since 2009. Of those, a staggering 88% were from species listed as endangered or threatened with extinction under the Endangered Species Act.
Americans want out of this relationship.
On Feb. 10, Oceana released the results of a new nationwide poll, revealing that the U.S. is ready to leave this relationship behind. The vast majority of registered voters report being concerned about plastic pollution and its impact on the environment and our oceans. Additionally, the poll shows widespread bipartisan support for government policies that reduce the use of single-use plastic products.
Key findings from the Oceana poll include:
* 81% of American voters support national, state, and local policies that reduce single-use plastic.*
- 84% of American voters are concerned about plastic pollution and its impact on the environment and our oceans.
- Registered voters support policies that reduce the use of specific single-use items, including plastic bags (74%), foam foodware (73%), takeout containers (73%), plastic packaging from online shopping (73%), beverage bottles (72%), food wrappers (71%), and straws (68%).
- Republicans and Democrats were both overwhelmingly concerned about plastic pollution and had widespread support for policies that reduce single-use plastic products:
- 93% of Democrats and 78% of Republicans are concerned about single-use plastic products.
- 91% of Democrats and 71% of Republicans support local and state policies that reduce single-use plastic.
- 92% of Democrats and 69% of Republicans support national policies that reduce single-use plastic.
Companies and policymakers need to get on board.
With plastic production rates rising and the plastics industry persistently relying on inadequate solutions like recycling, we’re looking at an alarmingly plastic-filled future — unless companies and policymakers use their power to change course. Oceana’s poll shows that American bipartisan support is strong for policies that reduce single-use plastic products.
Congress should get on board with the American public — and the cities and states that have been leading the way on this issue for years — by passing the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act. This comprehensive bill would phase out unnecessary single-use plastic products nationwide; protect fenceline communities by putting a moratorium on new and expanded plastic production facilities across the country; and hold companies accountable for their plastic waste. Tell your members of Congress to support the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act here.
In addition to Congress passing the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act, the Biden administration has the opportunity to reduce plastic pollution by eliminating the sale and distribution of single-use plastic products in national parks. Oceana recently released a separate poll that reveals Americans also overwhelmingly support ending the sale and distribution of single-use plastics in national parks. Support our petition to keep plastics out of our national parks here.
With that, we have a message for single-use plastics:
We hope that 2022 is the year we split. It’s not personal! And it’s definitely not us; it’s you.