U.S. EPA Releases Draft National Strategy to Prevent Plastic Pollution

On April 21, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the draft “National Strategy to Prevent Plastic Pollution” that could have serious implications for the regulated community, including the packaging industry, retailers, plastic manufacturers, solid waste management facilities, and recycling facilities, among others. According to the draft strategy, EPA is seeking to eliminate the release of plastic and other waste from land-based sources into the environment by 2040 through the following objectives: reducing pollution during plastic production, improving postuse materials management, preventing trash and micro/nano plastics from entering waterways, and removing escaped trash from the environment. Within these objectives EPA identified various research and regulatory actions under consideration. Among the regulatory actions under consideration, EPA signaled it was exploring new rules under the Toxic Substances Control Act for advanced recycling facilities that use pyrolysis to process recovered feedstocks into recycled plastics. The agency also called for ratification of the Basel Convention, which the United States agreed to in the 1990s but failed to ratify, as another approach to addressing international plastic waste.