Ban Non-Recyclable Plastics to Protect Oceans and Wildlife

Target: Michael S. Regan, Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency

Goal: Ban non-recyclable plastics to promote the health of our planet and those who call it home.

Plastic pollution is one of the main problems plaguing current environmental health. Billions of tonnes of plastic end up in our landfills and waterways and, since plastic is not naturally broken down, it remains in the environment for thousands of years. Plastic buildup not only poses a threat to human health, it also takes up valuable space and destroys entire ecosystems. In addition to the individual animals that die from ingesting free floating plastic, we also see the accumulation of plastics within food chains. Plastics can be found in species from plankton to blue whales, as well as in species of animals that we consume.

For years, recycling has been a way for us to help combat the devastating effects of wide scale plastic use and pollution, while simultaneously reducing emissions of greenhouse gasses and conserving our resources. Rather than continuously producing new plastics that will take another thousand plus years to degrade, recycled plastics can be turned into new products time after time again. Recycling has proven a highly effective measure in reducing the amount of plastic that ends up in the environment.

However, even in the face of all these recyclable plastics, there exist some groups of plastics–thermoset plastics, for example–that are not currently able to go through the same repurposing and rebranding processes. Commonly used household items like trash or Ziplock bags, bubble wrap, candy wrappers, and 6-pack plastics aren’t actually recyclable and, in turn, are destined to end up in landfills or waterways. Not to mention, if non-recyclable plastics end up in recycled plastic piles, it could decrease the efficiency of the recycling process, and can even contaminate the recyclable materials.

Currently, states are responsible for making their own laws about plastic regulations. But this is not necessarily the most effective, nor the most environmentally conscious decision. There is no reason for any state to keep using non-recyclable, unsustainable plastics when many recyclable alternatives exist. Sign this petition to urge regulators to enact a national ban of non-recyclable plastics and to protect our environment, our wildlife, and ourselves in the process.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Administrator Regan,

Each year, humans produce roughly 400 million tonnes of plastic waste. Most of this waste ends up in landfills–where it takes thousands of years to decompose–while the majority of the remainder ends up in our waterways, where it poses a serious threat to marine animals and marine ecosystems more generally.

While recycling is an effective combative measure to this problem, some of the most commonly used household items–for example, trash and Ziplock bags and the wrappers of candies and chips–are still made with non-recyclable plastics. So long as viable, recyclable alternatives exist, there is no need to continue the mass production of single-use, non-recyclable plastics that cannot be repurposed or reused. Such a process wastes precious energy and resources, and further contributes to environmental pollution by way of greenhouse gas emissions.

Currently, state officials have the freedom to decide which plastic regulations they want to enact in their states and which they do not. This makes it a lot more difficult for the United States to fully take command of the massive environmental pollutant problem that we currently face. We are asking you, Mr. Regan, to please ban non-recyclable plastics on a federal level. Recycling saves lives.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Dying Regime


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