National Academies Press: OpenBook

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

Chapter: 7 Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste

« Previous: 6 Tracking and Monitoring Systems for Ocean Plastic Waste
Suggested Citation:"7 Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." 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.
×
Page 106
Suggested Citation:"7 Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." 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.
×
Page 107
Suggested Citation:"7 Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." 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.
×
Page 108
Suggested Citation:"7 Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." 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.
×
Page 109
Suggested Citation:"7 Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." 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.
×
Page 110
Suggested Citation:"7 Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." 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.
×
Page 111
Suggested Citation:"7 Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." 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.
×
Page 112
Suggested Citation:"7 Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." 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.
×
Page 113
Suggested Citation:"7 Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." 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.
×
Page 114
Suggested Citation:"7 Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." 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.
×
Page 115
Suggested Citation:"7 Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." 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.
×
Page 116
Suggested Citation:"7 Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." 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.
×
Page 117
Suggested Citation:"7 Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." 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.
×
Page 118
Suggested Citation:"7 Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." 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.
×
Page 119
Suggested Citation:"7 Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." 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.
×
Page 120
Suggested Citation:"7 Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." 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.
×
Page 121
Suggested Citation:"7 Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." 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.
×
Page 122
Suggested Citation:"7 Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." 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.
×
Page 123
Suggested Citation:"7 Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." 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.
×
Page 124
Suggested Citation:"7 Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste." 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.
×
Page 125

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

7 Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste The last component of the statement of task is to “recommend potential means to reduce United States contributions to global ocean plastic waste.” In considering interventions for the United States, several themes emerge from expert advice on ocean plastic waste: The need and ability to act without perfect knowledge. Government-led expert reports and scientific assessments from the United Nations, the European Union (EU), Canada, the United Kingdom, Nordic Countries, and U.S. states (e.g., California) advise precautionary and immediate action, from source reduction to reuse—even with existing uncertainties—while concurrently addressing key knowledge gaps (Brander et al. 2021, Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada 2020, HM Government 2018). The need for a systemic approach involving actions across multiple institutions. Expert reports from the U.N. (Cornago, Börkey, and Brown 2021, IRP 2020) and nongovernmental organizations (Ellen MacArthur Foundation 2017, Lau et al. 2020, World Economic Forum, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and McKinsey & Company 2016) articulate the need for an integrated range of strategic interventions and advocate enforceable legal requirements and investments around waste prevention and management, product standards, and multisector commitments to reduce sources of plastic waste. Governments are aligning with “all of the above” principles and engaging in multisector collaborations for unified, systemic change. The need for government and industry standards, goals, criteria, and rules to advance action. There is growing recognition that government goals, standards, and regulations are needed to enable coordinated action with industry and civil society to reduce plastic waste flows to the ocean. Although addressing plastic pollution in the ocean requires cooperation from a wide range of stakeholders (e.g., producers, retailers, consumers, researchers), the core regulatory powers of governments are needed for effective solutions (Karasik et al. 2020). Voluntary pledges and commitments alone have been insufficient to manage ocean plastic waste (Borrelle et al. 2020, Cornago, Börkey, and Brown 2021, Lau et al. 2020)—as with many transboundary waste and pollution issues, such as wastewaters degrading basinwide water quality, greenhouse gases causing climate change, air contaminants generating acid rain, and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) depleting ozone. A coordinated effort across relevant stages and scales (local, national, and global) is needed to tackle plastic pollution. The need and opportunity to deploy economic instruments (e.g., the use of taxes and subsidies and extended user responsibilities) and behavioral interventions (e.g., promoting the voluntary adoption of pro-environment behavior in societies through non-price and non-regulatory means) to incentivize the most environmentally benign use, recycling, and disposal of plastics and plastic waste (see, e.g., Cornago, Börkey, and Brown 2021). The opportunities for co-benefits from addressing ocean plastic waste. Reducing plastic waste provides parallel social and environmental benefits for important U.S. priorities, such as equity and environmental justice, climate change emission reduction, sustainable economic growth, and cost reduction (CIEL 2019, Ford et al. 2022, U.S. Department of Energy 2021, UNEP 2021b, World Economic Forum, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and McKinsey & Company 2016, Zheng and Suh 2019). 106 Prepublication Copy

Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste Recommendation 4: The United States should create a coherent, comprehensive, and crosscutting federal research and policy strategy that focuses on identifying, implementing, and assessing equitable and effective interventions across the entire plastic life cycle to reduce U.S. contribution of plastic waste to the environment, including the ocean. This strategy should be developed at a high level with a group of experts (or external advisory body) by December 31, 2022, and its implementation assessed by December 31, 2025. Such a strategy would enhance U.S. leadership in creating solutions to global plastic pollution and shaping modern industrial plastic policy. KEY FRAMEWORKS AND IMPLEMENTATION No single solution can greatly reduce the flow of plastic waste to the ocean. However, a suite of actions (or “interventions”) across all stages of plastics’ paths from sources to the ocean could reduce ocean plastic wastes and achieve environmental and social benefits (IRP 2021). Actions to reduce ocean plastic waste at each stage have different effectiveness and costs but together constitute a regional, national, or global strategy for managing plastic wastes in the ocean and the environment (UNEP 2021a). A policy challenge is to organize and implement a portfolio of interventions along this chain of plastic use and management to reduce or eliminate plastic wastes entering the ocean considering both benefits and costs. Plastic waste reaching the ocean can be reduced through a range of interventions across the life cycle of plastic waste, from the plastic waste sources to management and release to the ocean (Figure 7.1). Systemic actions in each of these six stages across the plastic life cycle are needed to avoid the current mismatch between (1) sources and production of plastic products and (2) the waste and management systems charged with waste (OECD 2018). This chapter reviews interventions available and some examples employed to date to prevent and reduce plastic waste from entering the ocean. Interventions managed within a systemic approach can improve outcomes beyond individual interventions. FIGURE 7.1 Flow diagram of available plastic waste interventions from plastic production to recapture of plastics in the ocean. SOURCE: Modified from Jambeck et al. (2018). To reduce plastic waste generation (Stage 3), interventions will be required at the production, material, and product design stages (Stages 1 and 2). These interventions require widespread change in industry standards and practices to make more efficient and equitable use of government and other resources downstream (UNEP 2021a). The federal government has a clear opportunity with industry to set goals and requirements to reduce plastic flows from upstream and has laid out some potential innovation paths—for example, the U.S. Department of Energy (2021) Prepublication Copy 107

Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste Plastics Innovation Challenge Roadmap. At the end of this chapter, Table 7.1 identifies diverse examples for each intervention stage below. 1 – Reduce Plastic Production. This is the first stage where plastic waste can be affected, by reducing the amount of plastics produced to decrease needs for waste stream management. Of particular interest is reducing production of plastics which are not reusable or practically recyclable. 2 – Innovate Design and Materials. In this stage, materials and product design innovation can develop substitutes that biodegrade more quickly or are more easily recycled and support use of more reusable products. Furthermore, product design can be changed for items more likely to become waste and leak into the environment through the use of green engineering (Abraham and Nguyen 2003, Anastas and Zimmerman 2003) and green chemistry (Anastas and Warner 1998, Chen et al. 2020, Coish et al. 2018) principles. 3 – Decrease Waste Generation. Actions in this stage reduce unnecessary plastic wastes, by reducing use of plastic products with short disposable use periods, such as some single-use applications. Such interventions can include product limits and targets for recycling and reuse. 4 – Improve Waste Management. Actions in this stage improve solid and other waste infrastructure, collection, treatment, and management, including leakage control and accounting. This can include efforts to increase collection of plastics into waste management systems, plastic recycling, and isolation or treatment of remaining plastic wastes to avoid leakage into the environment. 5 – Capture Waste. Improving waste capture from the environment before or after waste enters the ocean is another class of intervention. This can include re-capturing wastes from ground litter, stormwater, or directly from waters where it accumulates, such as during river or beach cleanups or using retention booms (Figure 7.2). This class of interventions tends to be expensive but is highly visible and often has the most focus. Environmental capture is sometimes done after plastic wastes enter the open ocean. This strategy is very expensive, inefficient, and impractical because of the vast areas over which waste is dispersed, especially plastic waste that has fragmented over time into very small and widely distributed microplastics. 6 – Minimize At-Sea Disposal. This category reduces plastic waste discharge into the ocean directly from vessels, point sources, or platforms and includes actions under specific laws and treaties regarding ocean pollution. Successful implementation of this suite of interventions will require focused resources and funding, as well as attendant monitoring and assessment (as described in Chapter 6), research and development, and public outreach and transparency initiatives (see examples at end of Table 7.1) (Cornago, Börkey, and Brown 2021, UNEP 2021a). 108 Prepublication Copy

Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste FIGURE 7.2 A debris retention boom at the Ala Wai Boat Harbor, O’ahu, Hawai’i preventing upstream debris transported via the Ala Wai Canal from entering coastal waters. Image courtesy of Mary J. Donohue. Assessing Interventions—Scale and Cost-effectiveness The mix of interventions and actions available to reduce ocean plastic waste constitutes a portfolio within an overall system. If each ocean plastic intervention is managed well, a portfolio of actions will maximize reduction of plastic waste in the ocean for any level of overall cost (IRP 2020). Addressing only one or several categories of interventions without substantially addressing all will reduce overall effectiveness in plastic reduction to the ocean (Biron 2020, Cornago, Börkey, and Brown 2021, Lau et al. 2020). Actions by larger organizations with the ability to finance, organize, and implement change (e.g., governments and industries) are more likely to have economies of scale in cost and in technical attention to focus on the underlying systems (IRP 2021). The range of interventions to reduce ocean plastic wastes vary in effectiveness and cost relative to benefits for affected communities and environments. System analysis can help in crafting national, state, and local portfolios of actions, which are more cost effective and usefully inform policy formulations and discussions. Participants and Roles The ubiquity of plastics in the economy and environment is mirrored by the diverse range of institutions and interests involved in the plastic value chain, from plastic production to product manufacture and distribution, disposal, leakage, collection, and recovery or disposal of plastic waste. It is critical to assign roles and responsibilities to those best positioned to address and solve the problem (UNEP 2021a). Multiple interests often need to collaborate for an individual intervention or portfolio of interventions to succeed. Prepublication Copy 109

Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste Private sector groups include raw material feedstock producers; plastic resin producers; plastic processors; designers and creators of plastic products; companies that use plastics in consumer products; and retailers, packagers, and distributors of those products to users ranging from the public to governments. The final stage of the plastic value chain rests with those involved in regulating, financing, and operating systems to control pollution and manage the collection, transportation, treatment, and disposal of plastic wastes. These include landfills, recycling, composting, and incineration facilities as well as facilities to capture and contain leakage to the environment, such as wastewater treatment plants. Governments often take these roles, with private firms carrying out many of these responsibilities. Private companies have mostly commercial and economic interests in producing and consuming or using plastics and plastic goods, in making plastic material and product design decisions, or in collecting and disposing of plastic wastes. Production and manufacturing firms could intervene in early stages of the value chain and use circular economy principles to reduce the creation of plastic waste in the first instance. They can define clear paths for plastics to end- of-life recovery or management, using green chemistry and green engineering principles (Abraham and Nguyen 2003, Anastas and Zimmerman 2003, Law and Narayan 2021, Zimmerman et al. 2020). These principles can be integrated into products, feedstocks, and manufacturing under expanded definitions of performance that include sustainability (Zimmerman et al. 2020). Such approaches would bring polymer scientists, product designers, environmental engineers, and waste professionals together to design materials and products that reduce the likelihood of leakage and pollution by incentivizing their recovery to retain value and feedstock for future uses (Law and Narayan 2021). Federal, state, and local governments organize and oversee waste and pollution control operations and infrastructure that are increasingly burdened by plastic waste. U.S. environmental law delegates most of these roles to state and local governments under “cooperative federalism.” (Ternes and Fulton 20201 and see Appendix C). As currently designed, these systems reduce some externalities but still allow substantial plastic leakage as outlined in Chapters 3 and 4. These include solid waste collection and management systems (including litter collection, landfills, and recycling and composting facilities) as well as treatment and monitoring systems. These are supported by a range of fees and taxes largely at state and local levels, although the federal government funds some infrastructure and targeted prevention and cleanup programs. National and state governments have critical organizing and motivating roles beyond waste management at all stages, including scientific assessment, monitoring and evaluation, goal and priority-setting, expert and cross-sector initiatives, financial incentives, and resources to support change, as well as laws and policies that guide actions by the private sector (Coe, Antonelis, and Moy 2019, UNEP 2021a). Key federal government actors include (1) Congress, which provides statutory authority and fiscal resources; (2) the Executive branch, which implements statutes and creates executive orders that can stimulate change within the federal system, itself a major consumer; and (3) the Judiciary branch, which interprets law or gives effect to federal decisions (Ternes and Fulton 2020). Cost of payment for managing plastic wastes in the environment tends to vary along plastics’ paths to the ocean. Each action and its costs affect different consumer and producer groups, as well as different local, regional, and national communities and governments. The current disconnect between plastic formulation and product design and end-of-life management creates significant negative externalities when plastic waste “leakage” creates ocean pollution and 1 This citation was modified after release of a pre-publication version of the report. 110 Prepublication Copy

Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste inequitable impacts (UNEP 2021b). Consumers, communities, and nongovernmental actors, including philanthropy, are not positioned or resourced to change plastic production and waste management, although they can and do catalyze multisector collaborations, raise awareness, support transparency and equity, and advocate for governmental and private sector changes. They can also participate in cross-sector partnerships to advance innovation and solutions with government and private firms. STRATEGIES FROM OTHER COUNTRIES/REGIONS At the global level, national actions on plastic policy before 2018 focused on interventions largely focused on specific plastic products, described in Box 7.1. In 2020, in response to a range of international actions, including U. N. resolutions regarding plastic pollution, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) issued guidance to assist nations in prioritizing actions to reduce plastic pollution with a more systemic approach, based on a practical understanding of sources of pollution, then matching prioritized “hotspots” (based on data) with appropriate interventions (UNEP 2020). By then, a growing number of G7 and G20 countries had already initiated national “systemic” plans and pressed for coordinated plastic strategies and commitments (see Appendix E). These included the EU (and the United Kingdom), Canada, and China. In October 2021, UNEP released Global Assessment of Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution to inform discussions on additional national and international actions (UNEP 2021a). Although the United States has a range of laws and policies regarding marine debris and plastic waste (see Chapter 3, Appendix C, and Appendix E), the country has not moved to adopt a national system-wide strategy for reducing plastic waste. The United States did not join Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the EU and numerous nongovernmental groups in signing the 2018 G7 “Plastics Charter,” committing to (1) attaining 100% reusable, recyclable, and recoverable plastics by 2030; (2) increasing the recycled content of plastic products to at least 50% by 2030; and (3) recycling and reusing at least 55% of plastic packaging by 2030 and recovering 100% of all plastics by 2040. These commitments underpin the national plastic strategies issued by the EU, United Kingdom, and Canada, described below. In 2019 the United States joined all G20 nations in a voluntary commitment to “reduce additional pollution by marine plastic litter to zero by 2050 through a comprehensive life-cycle approach” but has not yet proposed specific measures to achieve this (G20 2021). European Union Recognizing the importance of plastic products to the economy of the EU and the world at large, and plastic pollution’s serious harms to the environment and human health, the EU is acting to reduce plastic pollution. The EU’s policy on plastics is embedded in its circular economy plan (European Commission 2021). It intends to transform how plastic products are designed, produced, used, and recycled in the EU, guided by specific rules and targets (European Environment Agency 2021). Some key directions in the EU plastic strategy are (1) improving the economics and quality of recycling by instituting “new rules on packaging to improve the recyclability of plastics and increase demand for recycled plastic content”; (2) curbing plastic waste through a directive banning some single-use products, reducing others, and improving collection and reporting of fishing gear (including through extended producer responsibility [EPR] schemes), as well as rules Prepublication Copy 111

Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste that restrict use of microplastics in products; (3) driving innovation and investment by increasing financial support, “with an additional €100 million to develop smarter and more recyclable plastics materials”; and (4) working with EU’s international partners to “devise global solutions and international standards on plastics.”2 BOX 7.1 International Trends on Plastic Policy (as of July 2018) • Plastic bag regulations—127 of 192 countries regulate plastic bags restricting free retail distribution; 27 assess taxes on manufacture and production; 30 charge consumer fees. FIGURE 7.1.1 This map illustrates bans on plastic bags taken by countries around the world. SOURCE: UNEP (2018, Map 1). • Product bans or limits—”27 ountries have banned or limited production of specific products (e.g. plates, cups, straws, packaging) and materials (e.g. polystyrene).” • Extended producer responsibility (EPR) for plastic bags—43 countries have included elements of EPR for plastic bags. • EPR for single-use plastics—63 countries mandate EPR for single-use plastics, including deposit-refunds, product take-back, and recycling targets. (continued) 2 See https://ec.europa.eu/environment/strategy/plastics-strategy_de. 112 Prepublication Copy

Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste BOX 7.1 Continued FIGURE 7.1.2 This map identifies countries that have implemented extended producer responsibility for disposable or single-use plastics. SOURCE: UNEP (2018, Map 8). • Microplastics—Several countries “banned microbeads and the European Union has started a process to restrict addition of microplastics to consumer and professional use products.” SOURCE: UNEP (2018). For more information, including informative maps, see https://www.unep.org/ resources/publication/legal-limits-single-use-plastics-and-microplastics-global-review-national. On marine plastic pollution, Arroyo Schnell et al. (2017) classify EU’s marine plastic pollution policies into three categories: 1. Plastic production and use impacting the ocean. Relevant policies involve bans or taxes on plastic items and rely on EU Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and associated waste and its amendment in 2015 (2015/720). 2. Plastic waste disposal entering the ocean. Several EU member countries have highlighted their implementation of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) Convention 73/78. Annex V, in particular, deals with the control and prevention of pollution from garbage from plastic waste and other solid wastes. 3. Plastic waste already in the ocean. There are policies to reduce the amount of waste already present in the marine environment, including research, monitoring, and cleanup activities. As a signatory to the Basel Convention, on January 1, 2021, EU also implemented “new rules banning the export of plastic waste from the EU to non-[Organisation for Economic Co- operation and Development] OECD countries, except for clean plastic waste sent for recycling. Prepublication Copy 113

Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste Exporting plastic waste from the EU to OECD countries and imports in the EU will also be more strictly controlled.”3 The strategy also provides for periodic evaluation of effectiveness, with some early reports of improvement in recycling of packaging (Hockenos 2021). Canada The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste (CCME 2019, 2020), adopted in 2018, requires actions along the life cycle of plastics to increase their recovery in the economy. These actions are focused on product design, collection systems, single-use plastics, recycling capacity, and domestic markets for recycled material. This Canada- wide Action Plan on Zero Plastic Waste also includes a Canada-wide Action Plan on Extended Producer Responsibility. On June 9, 2018, Canada also joined France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the EU in signing the Ocean Plastics Charter. The Charter’s goals include working with industry toward 100% reusable, recyclable, and recoverable plastics by 2030, collaborating with industry and other levels of government to recover 100% of all plastics by 2040. The Canadian Government has publicly stated that it plans to ban some single-use plastic products, but currently no such legislative bans exist at the federal level. However, a few municipalities are leading the effort on single-use plastic bans. Canada recently adopted a range of legislation and policy statements that will lead to a country-wide ban on single-use plastics by the end of 2021. Six items have been identified for the ban: plastic straws, plastic checkout bags, stir sticks, cutlery, six-pack rings, and food ware made from hard-to-recycle plastics. Concerning international trade in plastic waste, Canada is a signatory to the Basel Convention, which controls international shipments of most plastic scrap, waste, and waste destined for recycling or disposal (Hagen, LaMotte, and Meng 2021, U.S. EPA 2021i). Canada implements the Basel Convention through the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations. China In addition to banning plastic waste imports in 2018, China issued national policies on plastic pollution (NDRC and MEE 2020). At the start of 2020, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) issued the “Opinions on Further Strengthening the Treatment of Plastic Pollution,” which proposed objectives and tasks to phase out certain plastics by 2025 to control plastic pollution (China Government Network 2021). Sequentially, they issued “Notice on Further Strengthening Recent Work of Plastic Pollution Control” and “Notice on Solid Promotion of Plastic Pollution Control” to support their plastic pollution objectives (Guangdong Provincial Development and Reform Commission 2020). China’s guiding principles are to focus on key areas in an “orderly manner,” lead through scientific and technological innovation, and foster co-governance (comprising the government, businesses, industry organizations, and the public). China has set goals for 2020, 2022, and 2025 (NDRC and MEE 2020). China’s 2020 goal was to become a leader in banning and restricting the “production, sales, and use of some plastic products in some regions and areas.” China’s 2022 goal 3 See https://ec.europa.eu/environment/topics/waste-and-recycling/waste-shipments/plastic-waste-ship ments_en. 114 Prepublication Copy

Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste is to significantly decrease use of single-use plastic products, promote product substitutes, and increase the proportion of plastic recycled. By 2025, the national objective is to establish a “multi- element” co-governance system along with a management system to address the entire life cycle of plastics, from production to waste. China plans for substitutes for plastic products to be further developed and ready for market, to significantly reduce plastic waste destined for landfills, and to decrease plastic pollution (NDRC and MEE 2020). In 2008, China attempted to ban ultra-thin plastic bags. The impact was minimal, however, due to insufficient local implementation. Now, China intends to implement and enforce its regulatory measures at the provincial level (Logofet 2021). The NDRC and the MEE recognize conditions differ in different regions and have stated that local governments should assess local conditions to develop actions and policies for their regions (NDRC and MEE 2020). The central government has requested that provincial governments submit their plans on how to effectively employ the directives for the conditions in their regions (Logofet 2021). U.S. Federal Action to Date The United States Federal Strategy for Addressing the Global Issue of Marine Litter, released in October 2020, reflected work as of that date under three main U.S. legal authorities: Marine Debris Act, as amended by the Save our Seas Act of 2018; Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; and Clean Water Act (U.S. EPA, 2020c). It also describes international actions in coordination with other nations under laws on pollution from ships and other ocean activities. In its September 2021 report to the G20, the United States confirmed that while “it does not have a national action plan specific to marine plastic litter,” existing federal laws provide “a comprehensive legal framework to address marine plastic litter,” listing, in addition to the three authorities specified in the 2020 Strategy, the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act, the Microbead Free Waters Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, and the Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act (Ministry of Environment, Japan 2021). The 2020 Strategy (U.S. EPA 2020c) and 2021 G20 update confirm that efforts within the United States have focused largely on litter and debris removal, outreach, and monitoring activities, with water pollution and solid waste management and reduction programs delegated to states and local governments. The U.S. submissions did not include elements adopted by some of the G7 and G20 countries, such as a plan for a national life cycle of plastics intervention strategy or recommend legal, policy, or other changes to reduce production and use of problematic plastics and plastic products as detailed in the previous section. Interventions earlier in the plastic life cycle will be needed to equitably distribute costs and enable interventions to be more effective and cost efficient (OECD 2018). The only ban on plastic production enacted at the federal level is the congressionally enacted 2015 prohibition on the use and manufacture of rinse-off cosmetic products containing plastic microbeads. At the same time, states and local jurisdictions have been operating as “policy laboratories” for interventions that have worked elsewhere (Karasik et al. 2020). The need to stem plastic pollution to communities and overburdened waste systems has led some states and local jurisdictions to test new policy tools. Given limited resources and growing public support, states, cities, and municipalities are enacting bans or limits on products (e.g., bags, utensils, and packaging) commonly found in the environment (Karasik et al. 2020). Some states have adopted Prepublication Copy 115

Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste comprehensive statewide plastic strategies, such as California’s 2018 Marine Litter Strategy (co- developed with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA]), set for additional updates in 2022 (California Ocean Protection Council and NOAA Marine Debris Program 2018, Wyer 2021). States and local jurisdictions also are adopting policies to redirect recycling and waste management cost from the public sector to producers and generators of plastic and packaging waste. These include EPR laws (e.g., Maine, Oregon) (Martins 2021) and other state policies for various waste types, as noted in Table 7.1 and Appendix C. A U.S. APPROACH ON PLASTICS Recent congressional action and federal agency activities as well as actions adopted by state and local governments illustrate increasing interest in a more systemic and unified approach to this problem, leading toward a global solution (Save Our Seas 2.0 Act, Reports from NOAA, G20 statements and G7 statement of ministers). The range of federal agencies, programs, and existing legal authorities (illustrated in Appendix C) could be a foundation for an updated U.S. strategy. As noted, the United States has not yet adopted a systemic federal approach to all six stages of interventions, from production to disposal, though the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act included measures to support research, global cooperation, and infrastructure.4 Most federal interventions and marine debris strategies within the United States have focused on Stages 3–5, cleanup and local waste management (U.S. EPA, 2020c; Appendix C; Appendix E), which cannot stem leakage to the environment because of the large volume of flow relative to available resources. To reduce U.S. plastic waste generation, interventions will be required in production, material, and product design stages (Stages 1–2). These interventions require widespread changes in industry standards and practices to make the most efficient and equitable use of government and other resources downstream. The federal government has a clear opportunity, along with industry, to set goals and requirements to reduce flows of plastic waste from these upstream stages and has laid out some potential innovation pathways for reducing plastic waste. NOAA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) are two federal agencies with relevant legal authorities and significant expertise in plastic pollution, environmental conservation and protection, and waste management. NOAA’s Marine Debris Program was formed when most attention was directed toward plastic and other waste in the ocean and on shorelines from marine-based sources, and focused attention on abandoned and lost fishing gear as well as ship-based plastic waste (National Research Council 2009, U.S Commission on Ocean Policy 2004), but the program has been strengthened multiple times to address new challenges and improve the following: government coordination, including around enforcement of existing laws; public outreach and education; partnerships; monitoring and identification; and research. NOAA has also been a leader internationally, having hosted or co-hosted six International Marine Debris Conferences, including in Hawaii (1984) and San Diego, California (2018). These meetings were an important forum for marine debris researchers, managers, policy makers, and others interested in marine debris. The United States and the Republic of Korea have announced plans for a seventh International Marine Debris Conference in Busan, Republic of Korea in September 2022. NOAA has made progress on these efforts, building scientific and operational expertise, widespread trust, and strong partnerships within existing resources and authorities. This role as a trusted science-based leader and partner on the problem is essential to the success of any federal 4 See https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/1982/text. 116 Prepublication Copy

Interventions for U.S. Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste effort. In addition, NOAA leads the Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating Committee (IMDCC), under which it coordinates with many federal agencies with programs and resources to bear on the plastic waste problem. Reducing land-based sources of waste and pollution that enter the U.S. environment, including federal inland and offshore waters, is assigned to U.S. EPA, with roles for NOAA, the U.S. Coast Guard, and other agencies (Appendix C). As described in Chapter 3, U.S. EPA’s existing environmental authorities, while broad, operate within a federal and state regulatory context. Their water and air pollution prevention and solid and hazardous waste management authorities, largely implemented at local and state levels, are grounded in a historical focus on hazardous waste and chemical pollutants and are not specifically designed to address plastic waste problems. However, U.S. EPA’s expertise on strategies for pollution and waste control and human and environmental health risk reduction give the agency a strong opportunity to use its experience in designing critical interventions. Although the United States is strong in solid waste management compared to other countries, plastic solid waste is primarily landfilled despite major efficiencies and benefits to be gained by interventions in Stages 1–3 to reduce plastic waste and divert plastic waste to other managed fates (recycling, composting, reuse). It will be important to use a range of federal interventions across Stages 1–6 to reduce plastic waste “leakage” into the environment and ocean. The talent of federal agencies and many others will be needed to address gaps in plastic waste source reduction and building the infrastructure and systems to support plastic reduction, reuse, recycling, or composting (see Appendix C). This report does not review the state of knowledge on impacts of plastic waste to humans and the environment, but such an assessment could be an important part of developing a national strategy to inform necessary and priority actions across intervention stages. For example, the United States could consider whether it is appropriate to regulate plastic waste as a pollutant or hazardous material based on such an assessment. Finally, the federal research and monitoring enterprise is not resourced or organized to bring the needed science and assessments to bear on research priorities relating to the entire life cycle and scope of plastics, or key intervention points identified in this and other expert reports (UNEP 2021a). NOAA has led the federal monitoring and assessment effort and, along with U.S. EPA, conducted research and provided small-scale external research grants. However, as noted in Chapter 6, most research on the extent of plastics in the ocean and the natural environment has been undertaken by scientists outside of federal agencies, funded through both federal and non- federal sources. Emerging federal research and development, initiatives, and public–private collaborations may support more innovation on a range of topics, including materials design (see Table 7.1, Stage 2), but these efforts are in the early stages. Monitoring and assessments on plastic pollution will require more federal coordination, resources, and attention. Ensuring the work is strategic and targeted to support top interventions would benefit from being organized at a higher level of government, such as has been done for a number of transboundary environmental challenges (e.g., climate change, transboundary pollutants such as CFCs and oil). Models for such high-level federal science coordination exist, such as under the National Science and Technology Council, the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the U.S. Ocean Policy, and coordination mechanisms like the IMDCC and interagency ocean observing system committees (Appendix C). Prepublication Copy 117

Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste The challenges of implementing a coherent U.S. portfolio of effective system-wide interventions can be targeted and overcome by a new national strategy and implementation plan that builds on existing legal authorities and agency efforts, adopts new models being tested by others, and fills gaps identified above, in Table 7.1, and in Appendix C. Such a system can (1) provide a clear policy and legal framework and goals for reducing plastic waste in the ocean, (2) create economic incentives for improved plastic manufacturing and reduction through reuse and recycling, (3) reduce plastic “leaks” in U.S. waste management and pollution control systems, and (4) address funding gaps and reverse inequitable cost burdens. An updated U.S. strategy should take a systemic view and better organize actions across the range of federal agencies and programs (Appendix C), as well as state, tribal, and local governments, and other important industry, philanthropy, science, and civil society involvement. It could reflect new information and models for action, such as those being developed and tested by U.S. states and other countries, described above and in Table 7.1. The differences between the current U.S. approach and those being implemented elsewhere, as well as analyses of their effectiveness (see Cornago, Börkey, and Brown 2021, UNEP 2021a), could provide priority areas for evaluation with experts. Using these resources, the United States could update its policy, goals, and legal framework to reduce the U.S. contribution to global ocean plastic waste and assess this progress. High-level goals could be tailored to identify and address gaps in the U.S. system and unite federal efforts around specific coordinated interventions. Creating a framework for a system of interventions can align the United States with a global approach (Appendix E). Action could focus on those interventions suited to address the problem and reduce barriers to action. Moreover, U.S. leadership would help position the nation to shape and influence global activities in plastic production, formulation, design, innovation, and waste reduction. This, in turn, can create innovation and economic opportunities that reduce negative economic externalities. 118 Prepublication Copy

TABLE 7.1 Non-Comprehensive Table of Intervention Options Along Plastic Waste’s Path to the Ocean Prepublication Copy Intervention Category Types of Interventions Implementers Specific Illustrative Examples 1. Reduce Plastic Production Production or manufacturing National goals and strategies to cap or reduce virgin National, state, and European Union (EU) Circular Economy restrictions and limits plastic production tribal governments and Action Plan, March 11, 2020, and EU industry standards Directives 2018/850 and 2018/851 (landfill Reductions in plastic production (as carbon equivalents) as limits and recycling targets) part of global, U.S., and state greenhouse gas emissions goals Moratorium on new petrochemical plants and capacity to reduce production from fossil feedstocks 2. Innovate Material and Product Design Enforceable product standards for Timebound targets and limits on plastic content of specific National and state Minimum recycled content requirements manufacturers products and packaging governments, standards (California bottle recycled content law [Keller organizations Industry and Heckman 2020]; Washington state and End-of-life material and design specifications (standards and Connecticut [LaMotte et al. 2021]) (simplification) for some products, packaging to facilitate systems) reuse, recycling EU Directive 2018/852 (minimum 55% recycled content in plastic packaging by 2030) Prohibitions on sale of packaging with some plastics, such as polystyrene (e.g., Washington State SB5022, enacted 2021 [Quinn 2021]) Voluntary commitments and Government-sponsored research and development Industry, government, U.S. Plastics Pact collaborations for innovative collaborations, incentives, and roadmaps (see also “Other academia, material and product design Activities” below) nongovernmental Precompetitive and open innovation (scientific, funding, collaborations within and across industry Promote industry-wide innovation, standards, environmental) sectors (e.g., Ellen MacArthur Circular collaboration, and regulation by constraining the types of organizations, global Economy 100 Group [Kleine Jäger and resins used in some applications to maximize value and standards organizations Piscicelli 2021]) recyclability SOS 2.0 Genius Prize for Save our Seas Streamline and standardize design to limit variability in Innovations (Department of Commerce and packaging new Marine Debris Foundation) End-of-life material and design specifications (simplification) for some products, packaging to facilitate reuse, recycling Encourage following the Principles of Green Engineering and Green Chemistry 119 (Continued)

TABLE 7.1 Continued 120 Intervention Category Types of Interventions Implementers Specific Illustrative Examples Standards for labeling and marketing Restrict use of chasing arrows symbol on products which National, state, and U.S. Federal Trade Commission Green Guides lack broad, functional recycling infrastructure (e.g., can be tribal governments; for Environmental Marketing Claims collected, sorted, cleaned, and economically reprocessed) consumers and civil in place in the United States society CA SB 343 (restricts use of the chasing arrows symbol to only those plastic products that are Restrict chasing arrows symbol to items following truly recyclable in California); material standards for that product or material CA AB 1201 (restricts manufacturers from making the compostable claim unless the Create enforceable feedstock, performance, and labeling product meets specific compostability criteria) standards for “biodegradable,” “compostable,” “biobased” products, to prevent consumer confusion and potential Nongovernmental and governmental reports “greenwashing” (e.g., Greenpeace 2020, U.S GAO 2020) Publicly available assessments of and reports on recycling efficacy (markets for recycled materials and fate of items collected in recycling process) 3. Decrease Waste Generation Plastic product bans (and substitutes) Ban specific products based upon criteria such as potential National, state, local, EU Directive 2019/904 (Single-Use Product for loss to the environment, toxicity, and necessity of use and tribal governments Ban), effective 2021 Various U.S. state and local bans on single-use products (bags, straws, food service items); See Box 7.1 and Appendix C Mandatory procurement rules Procurement rules to replace single-use items with National, state, and Canada 2018 Strategy: Zero plastic waste favoring reusable products reusable goods tribal governments (Government of Canada 2021) Private-sector companies, nongovernmental institutions Prepublication Copy Reduce loss of pre-production pellets Reduce pellet losses and wastes National and state 2007 California law (AB 258) on pre- that become waste governments; industry production plastic source controla Fiscal tools (fees, taxes, incentives) Fee on purchase of specific items at point-of-sale to National, state, U.S. state and municipal plastic bag laws disincentivize their use (e.g., thin film shopping bags) municipal, and tribal governments, and consumers

Prepublication Copy Deposit return systems Systems that use a deposit to incentivize return or reuse of U.S. state bottle return laws (see Appendix C) the packaging or product Norway tax on plastic producers, forgiven if recycling tops 95% (now 97% bottles are recycled; 92% can be reused) (Steffen 2020) Extended producer requirements Place legal or fiscal responsibility on producers for National, state and Maine and Oregon packaging EPR laws (EPR) (end-of-life management) management and disposal of plastic waste. EPR local, and tribal (2021) and other state EPR laws campaigns often rely on government to set and enforce governments standards even though responsibility is placed upon British Columbia EPR law (85% recovery companies. Industry funded/ rate; Paben 2021) government oversight Laws and policies that enable life-cycle management such Many plastic and non-plastic examples in as EPR, take back schemes that meet specific targets for states (e.g., paint, mattresses)b waste diversion and recycling U.S. EPR requirements for e-waste and Require recycling rates for products (e.g., beverage pharmaceuticals bottles). If rates are not met, then fees are charged. EU and Norway EPR legislation Reusable and refillable systems Investment in affordable and convenient reuse/refill National, state, and CA laws: (1) AB 962 allows beverage systems to reduce single-use packaging tribal governments producers to sanitize and refill intact glass bottles; (2) CA AB 619c—amends health laws Fund programs to promote reuse/refill systems Investment through to allow consumers to bring containers for Small Business restaurants to fill for to-go. Innovation Research, government funding, Business examples: Algramo, private funders Loop 4. Improve Waste Management (Prevent or Reduce Disposal/Discharge) Disposal, collection, and recycling Infrastructure for source separation, industrial composting, National, state, tribal, Infrastructure grants under Save Our Seas 2.0 improvements recycling (including beyond mechanical) and local governments Act and related legislation (Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act; see Appendix C) Recycling collection and reuse targets and incentives (e.g., bottle bills, deposit/refund schemes) State bottle bills (e.g., CA AB 962d requires the creation of a returnable bottle system in Place and maintain receptacles in plastic “hotspot” or high California by January 1, 2024) traffic areas Cigarette butt bins Research and development investment in new methods of depolymerizing plastic waste to promote Lidded trash cans material/chemical recovery U.S. Department of Energy investments (e.g., Energy.gov 2020); Industry initiatives and multiparty alliances; See also research and development below. 121 (Continued)

TABLE 7.1 Continued 122 Intervention Category Types of Interventions Implementers Specific Illustrative Examples Plastic waste export/ import controls Limit, ban, or voluntarily eliminate plastic waste exports National, state, and None at federal level (not signatory to Basel and imports to incentivize waste reduction tribal governments; Convention) private sector CA AB 881 prevents municipalities from counting plastic waste exports as “recycled” Private industry voluntary commitments (Waste Management, Republic Services) China 2018 Import Ban Basel Convention 2019 amendments (require prior informed consent for exports of hazardous plastic waste and most non- hazardous plastic waste) Treatment improvements to remove Wastewater treatment standards to remove microplastics Government, private California requires plastic waste removal from plastic waste from discharges and microfibers sector industrial and municipal discharge Products to prevent microfiber releases of from equipment (e.g., washing and industrial machines) National Pollutant Discharge Stormwater discharge regulations for plastics National, state, and California, Hawaii Trash total maximum daily Elimination System, stormwater tribal governments loads to address plastic waste in stormwater limits and treatment Green infrastructure to filter stormwater Nonpoint source permit requirements (facility specific, per U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidance) Ocean/river discharge limits Establish regulatory limits on macroplastic or microplastic National, state, and California zero discharge goal for trash waste in ocean and river discharges tribal governments (including plastics) by 2030 5. Capture Waste (to Remove Plastic Waste from the Environment) Remove wastes from waterways Beach, river, and inland waterway cleanups Municipal International Coastal Cleanup/Ocean Prepublication Copy governments, Conservancy Trash capture devices in waterways community groups Mr. Trash Wheel, trash booms, etc. Remove wastes from ocean wildlife Ghost net removal; fishing gear return incentives; animal National, state, local, Derelict crab pot removal and habitats and coral disentanglement and tribal governments; local, industry, and Global Ghost Gear Initiative/Ocean nonprofit groups Conservancy

Prepublication Copy Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii/State of Hawaii Marine Debris Rapid Response Ghost Net Removal Program and marine litter removal U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service Pacific Islands Fishery Science Center ghost net removal, protected species disentanglement U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program funded community-based marine debris removal projects Hawaii Pacific University Center for Marine Debris Research ghost net removal in state of Hawaii The Northwest Straits Foundation ghost net and derelict crab pot removal in Puget Sound Remove plastic waste from localized Tire wear particle capture device for roadways State, local, and tribal Cleanup efforts hotspots governments Land-based cleanups Academia, Research to identify plastic waste hotspots nongovernmental organizations, agencies 6. Minimize Ocean Disposal Increase enforcement for at-sea Increase enforcement of dumping and disposal of trash Global treaty MARPOL VI; Ocean Dumping Act disposal organizations; national, implementation measures/ Establish solid waste disposal infrastructure for end-of-life state, local, and tribal Reduce at-sea abandonment or fishing nets and gear governments EU Directive 2019/904 provides for EPR and discard of fishing gear proper disposal of fishing gear made of Create incentives for land-based, e.g., dockside, disposal plastics of end-of-life fishing nets, gear, and trash Various national and state fishing gear Establish identification/tagging for deployed active and marking requirements (e.g., Marine passive fishing nets and pots Management Organisation 2016, Ocean Outcomes 2020) (Continued) 123

TABLE 7.1 Continued Intervention Category Types of Interventions Implementers Specific Illustrative Examples 124 Other Activities (to Support Above Interventions) Information/data collection Coordinated tracking and monitoring systems National, state, local, Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment and tribal governments; Project, U.S. National Water Quality Community-based monitoring industry Monitoring Council,e Marine Debris Tracker, International Coastal Cleanup/CleanSwell, National and state economic data, field data and studies Regional and local activities Mandatory annual reports on plastic use inventories of Transparency reporting: (1) Shareholder and public companies and government institutions investor initiatives (e.g., “As You Sow”), (2) Require plastic producers to report plastic production on Public reporting (e.g., “Plastic Waste Makers carbon equivalents Index,” Minderoo Foundation) Research and development Methods to deliver products without packaging REMADE Institute Industrially compostable and home compostable U.S. Department of Energy Plastic Innovation polymers, films, and adhesives Roadmap Product design that maximizes circularity and National Science Foundation (NSF) recyclability Convergent Accelerator program and NSF Grand Challenges grants Circular materials management and leakage characterization to inform upstream interventions Ellen MacArthur Foundation Plastics Pacts; American Chemistry Council Roadmap to Intersectional and interdisciplinary research to prevent Reuse litter and illegal dumping Trash Free Seas Alliance; Global Plastics Alliance and related industry investments and partnerships New Materials Institute Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites Education and outreach Professional outreach, co-production of knowledge to All National Oceanic and Atmospheric inform solutions at local and regional scales Administration National Sea Grant College Prepublication Copy Program Outreach on efficacy of plastic recycling, labeling, and engage public in solutions Nongovernmental organization and governmental reports, data, outreach Media, school materials, aquaria, and museums including information on ocean plastics U.S. coastal and inland aquarium (Aquarium Conservation Partnership) outreach campaigns Public behavior-change campaigns on single-use plastics: “In Our Hands” (2017)f and (2) “First Step” on straws (2018)

Prepublication Copy Community outreach to identify and address local barriers Trash Shouldn’t Splashg to prevent litter, illegal dumping Space Apps Challenge, e.g., 2021 Challenge– Leveraging AI/ML for Plastic Marine Debris a See https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/stormwater/plasticdebris.shtml. b See https://www.productstewardship.us/page/State_EPR_Laws_Map. c See https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200AB619. d See https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220AB962. e See https://acwi.gov/monitoring/network/index.html. f See https://pledge.ourhands.org/. g See www.trashshouldntsplash.org. 125

Next: References »
Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste Get This Book
×
Buy Prepub | $69.00 Buy Paperback | $60.00
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

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.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!