Single-use plastics (SPU) should be banned in the country due to the environmental damage they cause. It includes marine pollution, wildlife harm from entanglement and indigestion, and habitat destruction (Schnurr et al., 2018). SPU also contribute to adverse health outcomes in humans, serving as endocrine disruptors and possessing toxic chemicals that lead to poisoning (Schnurr et al., 2018). The initiative to halt the use and production of SPU is spreading worldwide, and while its efficiency is unclear due to being recent, some premature reports have been positive (Schnurr et al., 2018). Considering the described effects, it would be prudent for the US to implement a ban on SPU, following the example of other countries and individual states.
One of the regional examples of a successful policy adoption is California. The initiative spread throughout the state’s cities from the period between 2008-2018, and the ban is accompanied by an additional charge of 25 cents for reusable plastic bags (Kim, 2018). Although an attempt to repeal the policy was made, the citizens supported it in a voting procedure (Kim, 2018). A federal example would be Canada, where a nationwide ban will have been fully implemented by the end of 2021 (Di Mondo, 2020). However, it has been met with criticism highlighting the equally damaging alternatives and economic disadvantages (Di Mondo, 2020). Moreover, the ban covers only six items, which is insufficient to tackle the issue properly (Oceana, 2021). Thus, if the US wishes to implement a federal SPU ban, the drawbacks demonstrated by similar initiatives have to be addressed.
The policy’s main challenges would probably mirror Canada – economic impacts, lobbying, and select items. Some companies specializing in manufacturing SPU are likely to be against the initiative, and a compromise will be made to include only a limited number of products (Santa Cruz Sentinel, 2020). Therefore, the government should seek the means to assist those businesses to minimize their losses. The needs of consumers accustomed to SPU are another point to consider, and a viable alternative that has subdued environmental impacts might require an immediate introduction (Di Mondo, 2020). A reckless implementation may have the opposite effect and lead to adverse outcomes for the environment, the country, and the people.
Di Mondo, D. (2020). Ban single-use plastic? Right problem, wrong solution. The Globe and Mail. Web.
Kim, S. (2018). Analyzing the single-use plastic bags ban policy in California with social network model and diffusion model. In T. Z. Ahram (Ed.), Advances in artificial intelligence, software and systems engineering (pp. 408-418). Springer Cham.
Oceana. (2021). Canadians want the federal government to ban more than six plastic items. Web.
Santa Cruz Sentinel. (2020). Federal lawmakers introduce nationwide ban on single-use plastics. Web.
Schnurr, R. E. J., Alboiu, V., Chaudhary, M., Corbett, R. A., Quanz, M. E., Sankar, K., Srain, H. S., Thavarajah, V., Xanthos, D., & Walker, T. R. (2018). Reducing marine pollution from single-use plastics (SUPs): A review. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 137, 157–171. Web.