Tackling the plastics crisis at the source
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Plastic is everywhere. It’s choking our oceans, melting out of Arctic sea ice, sitting at the deepest point of the seafloor, and raining onto our national parks. It’s in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. It’s greatly contributing to the climate crisis and disproportionately polluting communities of color and low-income communities. Enough is enough. Oceana campaigns to stop plastic pollution at the source — by working to pass local, state, and national policies that reduce the production and use of unnecessary single-use plastic and move toward refill and reuse systems.
Two garbage trucks’ worth of plastic
enters the oceans every minute.
The world is facing a plastic pollution crisis that is increasingly threatening the future of our planet. An estimated 33 billion pounds of plastic enter the ocean every year — that’s roughly equivalent to dumping two garbage trucks full of plastic into the oceans every minute.
The problem is too big for consumers to solve. With plastic production rates increasing and industry continually relying on inadequate solutions like plastic recycling, we’re looking at an alarmingly plastic-filled future — unless companies and policy-makers use their power to change course.
We need companies to dramatically reduce their production and use of this persistent pollutant, provide us with plastic-free choices, and develop systems that refill and reuse packaging and materials. Policy-makers must pass legislation to ensure they do so.
June 30, 2022
U.S. State of California Enacts Boldest Plastic Pollution Reduction Policy in the Nation
In 2022, the U.S. state of California enacted the strongest plastic pollution policy in the nation, following bipartisan support in the state legislature. The law requires producers to cut their single-use plastic packaging and foodware by at least 25% by 2032 and implement the first statewide reuse and refill mandates in the nation. This victory will shift the burden of plastic pollution in the state back on polluters, who will be required to pay $5 billion over 10 years in environmental mitigation funds, the majority of which directly address plastic’s harms to disadvantaged, low-income, and rural communities who have been disproportionately impacted by plastic production, use, and pollution. Campaigning by Oceana and our allies was a critical part in achieving this significant step that will help protect our oceans, communities, and climate. While there will continue to be a need to reduce beyond the 25% mandated in this new law, and to invest in tools such as regenerative agriculture to help reduce the worst impacts of pollution and climate change, this law represents a powerful step that other states, and even nations, can use to build their plastics reduction programs.
June 8, 2022
U.S National Parks Protected from Single-Use Plastics
The U.S. Department of the Interior will phase out single-use plastics in national parks and other public lands, which will reduce the procurement, sale, and distribution of single-use plastic products and packaging in 423 national parks, including 88 ocean and coastal parks. This victory follows campaigning by Oceana and our allies, who have been campaigning for plastic-free national parks for years. Oceana and over 300 organizations and businesses sent a letter in 2021 to the U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland calling for a ban on the sale and distribution of plastic foam products and other unnecessary single-use plastic items — including bottles, bags, cups, plates, bowls, and utensils — in our national parks.
December 22, 2021
New Law in New York State Will Reduce Plastic Pollution in Hotels
New York state enacted an Oceana-backed law that will reduce plastic pollution in hotels by prohibiting small plastic bottles of personal care products for guests. These bottles contribute to the 33 billion pounds of plastic that pollute the ocean each year. This action made New York the sixth state to enact an Oceana-supported plastic reduction bill in 2021. To pass the bill through the state legislature, Oceana played an integral role in lobbying legislators and engaging online activists and coalition partners.
October 5, 2021
California Laws Reduce Single-Use Plastic Waste
California enacted two new laws to curb harmful single-use plastics, which pollute our oceans and harm marine life. One of the new laws opens the door to refillable glass beverage bottles by removing requirements that prevented bottles from being preserved and refilled by beverage producers. This change will create new jobs while also reducing waste. The second law will require single-use plastic food and beverage accessories — including utensils and condiment packages — to be provided upon request only for takeout and delivery. This will greatly reduce ocean-bound plastic waste in California as discarded plastic foodware is consistently among the top 10 waste items most found at beach cleanups across the state.
September 17, 2021
Delaware Protects Marine Life, Coast from Balloon Pollution
Following campaigning by Oceana and coalition partners, Delaware enacted a new law prohibiting intentional balloon releases statewide. Balloons released into the air can enter the oceans where they can harm and choke marine life. Delaware joins Maryland and Virginia in banning balloon releases, which will help protect marine life in the region and the roughly 225,000 jobs in the three states that depend on a clean coast.
Keep Plastics Out of Our National Parks
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced in June 2022 that single-use plastics will be phased out in all national parks over the next 10 years. But the next president could reverse the ban — unless Congress passes legislation, like the Reducing Waste in National Parks Act, to make it permanent.
PROTECT OUR OCEANS FROM SINGLE-USE PLASTICS
The United States generates more plastic waste than any other country, greatly contributing to the plastic pollution choking fish, dolphins, sea turtles, whales, and more. The federal Break Free From Plastic Act would reduce both the production and use of single-use plastic in America.
News & Reports
Around the Web
June 8, 2022
Source: Associated Press
June 9, 2022
Source: New York Times