The Order also directs the Department to identify nonhazardous, environmentally preferable alternatives to single-use plastic products, such as compostable or biodegradable materials, or 100 percent recycled materials. Single-use plastic products include plastic and polystyrene food and beverage containers, bottles, straws, cups, cutlery and disposable plastic bags that are designed for or intended to be used once and discarded.
“The Interior Department has an obligation to play a leading role in reducing the impact of plastic waste on our ecosystems and our climate. 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,” said Secretary Haaland. “Today’s Order will ensure that the Department’s sustainability plans include bold action on phasing out single-use plastic products as we seek to protect our natural environment and the communities around them.”
Plastic waste is a priority environmental problem. Less than 10 percent of the plastic that has ever been produced has been recycled, and recycling rates are not increasing. Plastics, including unnecessary and easily substituted single-use plastic products, are devastating fish and wildlife around the world.