SUP ban for national parks / State of Rhode Island opens chemical recycling facilities / Ongoing debates
Single-use plastic (SUP) products are to be phased out on US public lands by 2032, according to an 8 June order from Deb Haaland, US Secretary of the Interior, which calls for an end of government procurement, sale, and distribution of such goods.

The order is expected to cut millions of pounds of plastic from public lands, said Christy Leavitt from the marine environment protection organisation Oceana (

The US Department of the Interior controls the more than 400 national parks and wildlife refuges that cover 1.9 mn km2 of land, and it manages and conserves local flora and fauna. The order also directs the department to identify non hazardous, environmentally preferable alternatives to SUP products, such as compostable or biodegradable materials, or 100% recycled materials.

In December 2021, US President Joe Biden ordered American government agencies to cut waste (Photo: The White House)
The policy is part of the implementation of a December 2021 Executive Order from US President Joe Biden that calls for federal agencies to minimise waste and support markets for recycled products. US Congressmen Jeff Merkley and Mike Quigley in October 2021 introduced the Reducing Waste in National Parks Act, which called for phasing out the sale of distribution of SUP products across all national parks.

Related: US reclaim rate drops, waste generation soars
Advanced recycling approach in Rhode Island criticised
Meanwhile, waste plastics-to-fuel processing took a step closer to becoming available in the US state of Rhode Island, where the senate passed a bill that views advanced recycling as an innovative solution to tackle its environmental challenges.

Rhode Island State Senator Frank Lombardo III presented a video to the congressional chamber referencing the advanced recycling process from US renewable energy development company Brightmark (San Francisco, and its facility in Ashley, Indiana (see of 14.06.2021). A Brightmark project in the state of Georgia was recently cancelled (see of 29.04.2022).

However, groups such as the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF, say chemical recycling in reality uses high heat processes like pyrolysis and gasification to turn plastic waste into toxic chemicals and dirty plastic-derived fuels, with no evidence to support new products made from post-use plastics recycled by the technology.

CLF senior attorney Kevin Budris said the bill allows chemical plastics recycling to move into Rhode Island without the same siting restrictions, operating standards, government oversight, and public permitting processes that apply to other waste and recycling facilities.

Related: Why all recycling processes are important for a circular economy
24.06.2022 [250469-0]
Published on 24.06.2022

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