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Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste (2021)

Chapter: Appendix B: Definitions and Acronyms

« Previous: Appendix A: Biographies of the Committee on the United States Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Definitions and Acronyms." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
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Page 164
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Definitions and Acronyms." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
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Page 165
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Definitions and Acronyms." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
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Page 166

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Appendix B Definitions and Acronyms Plastics: A wide range of synthetic polymeric materials and associated additives made from petrochemical, natural gas, or biologically based feedstocks and with thermoplastic, thermoset, or elastomeric properties used in a wide variety of applications including packaging, building and construction, household and sports equipment, vehicles, electronics, and agriculture, and which occur in a solid state in the environment. Virgin plastic: Plastic resin produced from a petrochemical, natural gas, or biobased feedstock, which has never been used or processed. Solid waste: Residential, commercial, and institutional waste (Kaza et al. 2018). Industrial, medical, hazardous, electronic, and construction and demolition waste are excluded from this definition. Plastic waste: Any plastic that has been intentionally or unintentionally taken out of use and that has entered a waste stream as part of a waste management process or released into the environment Plastic waste in the environment is typically characterized according to size. Size classifications in this report follow the classifications used by the Join Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of the Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) and adopted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program (GESAMP 2019). Plastic solid waste: The subset of solid waste that is composed of plastics. Marine debris or marine litter: Any persistent, manufactured, or processed solid material that is directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, discarded, disposed of, or abandoned into the marine, coastal, or Great Lakes environment. This definition excludes natural flotsam, such as trees washed out to sea, and focuses on non-biodegradable synthetic materials that persist in the marine environment (definition adapted from multiple sources). Ocean plastic waste: A subset of marine debris; plastic waste in the marine environment including estuaries, coastlines, seawater (sea surface and water column), seafloor sediments, biota, and sea ice (these are similar ocean reservoirs as defined in Law 2017). Ocean plastic waste / Plastic marine debris / Plastic marine litter / Marine plastic pollution are collapsed for clarity and used interchangeably. Leakage: Loss of custodial control of plastic material to the environment, including during routine activities. 164 Prepublication Copy

Appendix B Microplastic: A plastic object from 1 to 1,000 um in size as determined by the object’s largest dimension (definition adapted from Hartmann et al. 2019). ACC American Chemistry Council ALDFG abandoned, lost, or otherwise discarded fishing gear ASTM ASTM International (formerly American Society for Testing and Materials) BMT billion metric tons CERCLA Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act CFCs chlorofluorocarbons CFR Code of Federal Regulations CWA Clean Water Act DDT dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane EPR extended producer responsibility EPS expanded polystyrene EU European Union FTIR Fourier Transform Infrared GAO Government Accountability Office GESAMP Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of the Marine Environmental Protection HBCDs hexabromocyclododecanes HDPE High-density polyethylene ICC International Coastal Cleanup IMDCC Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating Committee ISO International Standards Organization LDPE low-density polyethylene LIDAR Light Detection and Ranging LLDPE linear low-density polyethylene MDMAP Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project MDP Marine Debris Program MEE Ministry of Ecology and Environment MMT million metric tons MRF material recovery facility MSW municipal solid waste NDPB non-degradable plastic bags NDRC National Development and Reform Commission NIR near-infrared NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NSPT non-degradable single-use plastic tableware OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OSB Ocean Studies Board PE polyethylene PET polyethylene terephthalate Prepublication Copy 165

Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste PP polypropylene PPE personal protective equipment PS polystyrene PVC polyvinyl py-GC-MS pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry RCRA Resource Conservation and Recovery Act RGB red-green-blue SOT statement of task SWIR shortwave infrared TED-GC-MS thermo-extraction and desorption gas chromatography-mass spectrometry TMDL Total Maximum Daily Load TPU thermoplastic polyurethane TRI Toxics Release Inventory U.S. EPA United States Environmental Protection Agency UAV unmanned aerial vehicle UNEP United Nations Environment Programme USGS U.S. Geological Survey UV ultraviolet REFERENCES GESAMP (Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of the Marine Environmental Protection). 2019. Guidelines or the monitoring and assessment of plastic litter and microplastics in the ocean, edited by P.J. Kershaw, A. Turra, and F. Galgani. IMO/FAO/UNESCO-IOC/UNIDO/WMO/IAEA/ UN/UNEP/UNDP/ISA Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection. Hartmann, Nanna B., Thorsten Hüffer, Richard C. Thompson, Martin Hassellöv, Anja Verschoor, Anders E. Daugaard, Sinja Rist, Therese Karlsson, Nicole Brennholt, Matthew Cole, Maria P. Herrling, Maren C. Hess, Natalia P. Ivleva, Amy L. Lusher, and Martin Wagner. 2019. “Are We Speaking the Same Language? Recommendations for a Definition and Categorization Framework for Plastic Debris.” Environmental Science & Technology 53 (3):1039-1047. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.8b05297. Kaza, S., L. Yao, P. Bhada-Tata, and F Van Woerden. 2018. What a Waste 2.0: A Global Snapshot of Solid Waste Management to 2050. In Urban Development Series. Washington, D.C.: World Bank. Law, K. L. 2017. “Plastics in the Marine Environment.” Ann Rev Mar Sci 9:205-229. doi: 10.1146/annurev- marine-010816-060409. 166 Prepublication Copy

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An estimated 8 million metric tons (MMT) of plastic waste enters the world's ocean each year - the equivalent of dumping a garbage truck of plastic waste into the ocean every minute. Plastic waste is now found in almost every marine habitat, from the ocean surface to deep sea sediments to the ocean's vast mid-water region, as well as the Great Lakes. This report responds to a request in the bipartisan Save Our Seas 2.0 Act for a scientific synthesis of the role of the United States both in contributing to and responding to global ocean plastic waste.

The United States is a major producer of plastics and in 2016, generated more plastic waste by weight and per capita than any other nation. Although the U.S. solid waste management system is advanced, it is not sufficient to deter leakage into the environment. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste calls for a national strategy by the end of 2022 to reduce the nation's contribution to global ocean plastic waste at every step - from production to its entry into the environment - including by substantially reducing U.S. solid waste generation. This report also recommends a nationally-coordinated and expanded monitoring system to track plastic pollution in order to understand the scales and sources of U.S. plastic waste, set reduction and management priorities, and measure progress.

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