Biden’s EPA Proposes Action to Reduce Plastic Production
April 21, 2023
We can’t protect our communities or the environment from plastic pollution unless we drastically reduce plastic production and use, and this draft is a step in the right direction. Greenpeace USA calls for the Biden Administration to take decisive action, including an immediate end to exports of our plastic waste to the Global South.
© Paul Hilton / Greenpeace
Washington, DC (April 21, 2023)-In response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) release of the Draft National Strategy for Reducing Plastics and Other Waste in Waterways and Oceans, John Hocevar, Greenpeace USA’s Oceans Campaign Director, said: “It is encouraging to see the EPA’s proposal to reduce the production and consumption of single-use, unrecyclable plastic products. We also welcome the increased emphasis on environmental justice, as low-income communities – especially people of color – are the most harmed by plastic production, use, and disposal. We can’t protect our communities or the environment from plastic pollution unless we drastically reduce plastic production and use, and this draft is a step in the right direction.”
Hocevar added: “There is no such thing as a circular economy for plastic. Aside from a small portion that is downcycled once or twice before being dumped or burned, plastic waste is not usually recycled. Recycling, in this case, is just a brief pause between drilling for gas to produce the plastic and the landfill or incinerator where it will ultimately end up. Importantly, the EPA also clarifies that plastics-to-fuel operations are not considered recycling, and proposes testing requirements for pyrolysis. Turtles and whales do not care how much recycled content is in the plastic waste that chokes them to death. The chemical additives in plastic packaging, including known carcinogens and bio-disrupters, will still harm people’s health whether the package is recyclable or not.”
It remains to be seen whether the Biden administration will work alongside the dozens of countries working to limit plastic production and use. So far, the US has supported voluntary measures, an approach shared by Russia and Saudi Arabia, that are inconsistent with the administration’s commitments to environmental justice and climate change.
Plastic is a cumulative problem, meaning that every new plastic bag, container, or fork adds to the trillions of bits of plastic waste that are already polluting our air, water, and soil. The longer we wait to eliminate single-use plastic, the more damage will be done to the health of our oceans and ourselves. Greenpeace USA is calling for the Biden Administration to take decisive action, including an immediate end to exports of our plastic waste to the Global South.
Contact: Tanya Brooks, Senior Communications Specialist at Greenpeace USA (+1) 703-342-9226, [email protected]
Greenpeace USA is part of a global network of independent campaigning organizations that use peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future. Greenpeace USA is committed to transforming the country’s unjust social, environmental, and economic systems from the ground up to address the climate crisis, advance racial justice, and build an economy that puts people first. Learn more at www.greenpeace.org/usa.