The Department of the Interior will phase out single-use plastic on federal lands by 2032

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A decade from now, plastic water bottles on federal lands may be a thing of the past, thanks to a new plan by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

Earlier today, Haaland issued an order require federal land managers to phase out single-use plastic products on 480 million acres of Home Office property by 2032. The move supports a recent executive order from President Biden calling on federal agencies to minimize waste and increase recycling efforts. The order also reverses a 2017 policy, issued by the Trump administration, that prevented national parks from banning the sale of plastic water bottles.

“As stewards 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, [the Interior Department is] uniquely positioned to do better for our Earth,” Haaland said in a statement released today.

The decision is one of the leaders in the outdoor industry that has consistently stepped up over the past few years. In January, CamelBak President Greg Williamson wrote an op-ed, published in Outside Business Journal, calling for more water stations on federal lands to curb the sale of plastic water bottles at national park visitor centers and other public facilities.

Read more: Why we need more water stations on federal lands

“The result of a throwaway culture is that more plastic waste ends up in landfills or, worse, in waterways,” Williamson says in this article. “Expanding water refill stations on public lands, as well as promoting the practice of reusable water bottles and hydration packs, would provide visitors with more options to stay hydrated, improve the visitor experience and reduce waste and garbage collection costs.”

In a statement today, Williamson expanded on his earlier comments: “CamelBak’s long-standing mission has been to get the world to ‘ditch the disposable’, and this order puts that ideal within reach. We wholeheartedly support Secretary Haaland’s order, because reducing plastic use on public lands is good for all stakeholders. Phasing out single-use plastics by 2032 and creating alternative options, such as installing reusable water bottle filling stations, will bring myriad benefits to our people and our planet. .

According to reports from the Department of the Interior, nearly 80,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste was generated on inland lands in fiscal year 2020. Plastics accounted for a significant portion of this total.

“Less than 10% of all plastic ever produced has been recycled and recycling rates are not increasing,” the secretary said. Haaland said in the order released today. “The United States is one of the world’s largest producers of plastic waste and other types of waste, and the US government is a big consumer with significant market power and the ability to drive change through its policies. waste reduction and its sourcing models.”

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