Ending Plastic Pollution: Leading Anti-Plastic Legislation in the United States

This month is Plastic Free July: 31 days to take a stand against harmful waste and toxic pollutants.

At EARTHDAY.ORG, we are committed to ending plastic pollution. We raise awareness of the harmful impacts that plastic can have on the environment and our health. We hope to change human attitudes and behaviors towards plastics and reduce plastic pollution. As a nation, we will not be truly independent until we are free from plastic pollution.

Currently, in the United States, there are no federal regulations restricting single-use plastic; in fact, a one-third of the United States has laws to prevent plastic bans. Fortunately, several states and cities in the United States have regulations or laws that restrict or prohibit the use of single-use plastic products, primarily plastic shopping bags, grocery bags, and plastic straws.

Here are four of the nation’s top anti-plastic pieces of legislation that we can all learn from and build on this month of July:

In 2014, California adopted Senate Bill 270, making it the first state to pass legislation mandating a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags in major retail stores. Since 2014, California has expanded and improved its anti-plastic legislation. On June 16, 2022, Senator Bill Allen released a bill that reduce single-use plastic products by 25%. The bill would not only ensure that 65% of single-use products are recycled by 2032, an increase from the current level of around 10%, but would also transform the way companies package and ship their products. This bill could eliminate plastic pollution at the production level, not just at the consumption or distribution level.

from Vermont Senate Bill 113 is the most comprehensive single-use plastic ban in the United States. The Senate gave final approval in 2019 with a 30-0 vote and it came into force on July 1, 2020. The bill tackles the three biggest single-use plastic pollutants: plastic bags, plastic straws and expanded polystyrene (EPS). Single-use plastic bags are prohibited, customers can only use paid paper bags, straws are only available upon customer request, and catering providers are completely prohibited from distributing EPS containers.

As recently as May 4, 2022, New Jersey law PL 2020, c117 prevented shops and catering businesses from providing customers with single-use plastic or paper bags. Governor Phil Murphy signed the bill in November 2020, but it has only just come into effect. Under the new law, styrofoam catering products and food sold or supplied in styrofoam catering products will also be banned. However, they will be exempt until 2024. The New Jersey State Department and Department of Environmental Protection have developed Online resources to help companies prepare for the transition.

As the nation’s capital, DC serves as an example for the rest of the country. In 2010, under Bill 2010 B 150, Washington DC was the first to impose a tax on plastic bags. This bill protects the aquatic and environmental assets of the District of Columbia, prohibits the use of non-recyclable plastic disposable carrier bags, establishes a levy on all other disposable carrier bags provided by certain retail stores, and establishes the program recurrent cleaning and protection of the Anacostia River. Funds. As of January 1, 2022, DMV restaurants can only dispense disposable utensils, plastic straws, and napkins upon request. Sustainable DC 2.0 is a city-wide initiative led by Mayor Bowser that sets distinct targets, goals and action plans to address climate change. See the section titled Waste to learn more!

Legislation and regulation will be key to ending the plastic pollution epidemic. Our local, state and federal government officials must continue to create anti-plastic legislation and regulate corporations and businesses.

In the meantime, there are many steps you can take as an individual to rid the world of plastics:

Bryce K. Locke