Sales of plastic water bottles and other single-use plastic products will be phased out at national parks and on public lands in the United States over the next decade, the Interior Department said this week.
Deb Haaland, the secretary of the Interior, announced the measure on Wednesday. As the manager of 480 million acres of federal land, she said, the department has an obligation to play a leading role in reducing plastic waste, including food and beverage containers, bottles, straws, cups, utensils and disposable plastic bags.
“As the steward 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, we are uniquely positioned to do better for our Earth,” she said in a statement.
The Interior Department’s order reflects an intensifying global push to address plastic waste pollution and the challenges of getting rid of it, as recycling alone, hampered by shortfalls in collection and transport, has not been enough for the United States to stay ahead of mountains of plastic.