The sooner we get single-use plastics out of our national parks, the better

The Interior Department can move faster on removing single-use plastic products from our national parks.

Dan Meyers via Unsplash | Public Domain

Take Action

Imagine you’re hiking along a forest trail and the only sound is the crunch of leaves under your boots. Suddenly, one crunch sounds louder than the others. You stop and look down. That’s not a leaf you stepped on, but a plastic bottle.

Plastic waste is spoiling our national parks’ beauty as these cherished places become garbage cans. And while Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland plans to phase out single-use plastics from these lands by 2032, it shouldn’t take a decade to get plastic out of our parks.

That’s why we’re urging Secretary Haaland to act more quickly and remove 90% of plastic products from national parks by 2025.

Let’s protect our parks from plastic pollution

Whether in Yellowstone’s vibrant hot springs or the Grand Canyon’s picturesque gorges, plastic waste clogs our beautiful parks, harms wildlife and pollutes waterways. The National Park Service deals with an annual average of nearly 70 million pounds of waste. And 81% of that waste is plastic.

Reducing single-use plastics in our parks by 2025 is not a mountainous task. The National Park Service can add more bottle refill stations, prohibit plastics in new contracts, and renegotiate contracts that include plastic items.

America’s problem of single-use plastics is worsening, and although 11 states have banned plastic bags, plastic waste still invades our national parks and saps them of their splendor. Items we use for mere seconds shouldn’t ruin nature for centuries.

Secretary Haaland should act swiftly act to make America’s precious parks plastic-free.


Steve Blackledge

Senior Director, Conservation America Campaign, Environment America

Steve directs Environment America’s efforts to protect our public lands and waters and the species that depend on them. He led our successful campaign to win full and permanent funding for our nation’s best conservation and recreation program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund. He previously oversaw U.S. PIRG’s public health campaigns. Steve lives in Sacramento, California, with his family, where he enjoys biking and exploring Northern California.