A group of scientists have a solution to the problem of plastics in the environment: Make less plastics.
It seems so simple but it is necessary. The United States leads the world in plastic waste, according to a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicines. Plainly put: if we keep making plastics, the environmental crises will just get worse. Scientists are asking Congress for a national cap on plastic production.
Lawmakers haven’t shown much appetite for this. The recently-passed infrastructure bill has $350 million for more recycling but nothing to slow down the pollution. Lobbyists groups have spoken against this report and called in “misleading.” They prefer the idea of “advanced recycling,” or turning plastics into other things. Still, making plastics in the first place contributes to air toxins and greenhouse gases. The report shows that reduction is key, re-use secondary.