EPA Unveils Draft National Strategy to Combat Plastic Pollution. But, is it Feasible?

National Strategy to Prevent Plastic Pollution plastic waste in water

(Credit: Canva Pro)

by | Apr 24, 2023

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National Strategy to Prevent Plastic Pollutionplastic waste in water

(Credit: Canva Pro)

The EPA has published the preliminary version of the “National Strategy to Prevent Plastic Pollution,” representing a significant advancement in the Biden-Harris Administration’s initiatives to reduce pollution and create a circular economy.

By 2040, the EPA aims to completely eradicate the discharge of plastic and other waste from land-based sources into the environment.

As revealed during Earth Week, the Administration introduced the White House Interagency Policy Committee (IPC) on Plastic Pollution and a Circular Economy. The IPC will supervise the synchronization of federal programs that tackle plastic pollution, prioritizing public health protection, economic growth, environmental justice, and fairness, so that everyone can benefit from addressing plastic pollution. This includes job opportunities, minimized exposure to hazardous substances, and cleaner communities.

Development of an Action Plan to Reduce Plastic Waste

Over the past two decades, the worldwide annual production of plastic and plastic waste has more than doubled. Leading to pollution in communities not only from the manufacturing and transportation of plastics and associated chemicals, but also from the millions of tons of plastic products that end up in waste streams and spread into parks, neighborhoods, waterways, and oceans.

In collaboration with industry leaders and other stakeholders, the EPA has established three main goals for its strategy:

  • Goal A: Reduce pollution throughout plastic production.
  • Goal B: Enhance the management of materials after their use.
  • Goal C: Prevent waste and micro/nanoplastics from entering waterways and eliminate any escaped waste from the environment.

“Plastic pollution negatively impacts our environment and public health with underserved and overburdened communities hit hardest,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “As a global leader in the efforts to address these challenges and pave the way for the future, we must combat plastic pollution from every angle and prevent it at every step of the plastic lifecycle. As we take comment on EPA’s draft national strategy, the agency will continue this work to protect people and the planet, ensuring the benefits reach our most vulnerable communities.”

“National Strategy to Prevent Plastic Pollution”

The “National Strategy to Prevent Plastic Pollution” draft, in conjunction with the agencys’s “National Recycling Strategy,” outlines ways for the Agency to collaborate with US entities to prevent plastic pollution and adopt a circular approach to managing plastic waste. This approach prioritizes regenerative design, maximizing resource value and waste elimination.

Some of the proposed actions in the draft strategy are:

  • Enhancing the design of plastic products to allow for more refill and reuse options.
  • Boosting solid waste collection and ensuring that waste management does not negatively impact communities.
  • Reducing the production of single-use, non-recyclable, and frequently littered plastic products, as well as curbing pollution from plastic manufacturing facilities.
  • Raising public awareness of methods to reduce plastic and other debris in waterways.

EPA invites public comments on the draft “National Strategy to Prevent Plastic Pollution,” and expects to finalize the strategy by the end of the year.

Additionally, the agency will host a one-hour webinar on May 11, 2023, at 1:00 pm Eastern Time to provide an overview of the draft strategy and the key questions EPA is seeking comment on.

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