National Parks Eliminate Single-Use Plastic Sales
In 2022, the Department of the Interior took a monumental step towards environmental conservation by announcing a plan to phase out the sales of plastic water bottles and other single-use products at national parks and other public lands, affecting a vast expanse of 480 million acres of federally managed lands, which account for 20% of the country's lands and waters. The ultimate goal is to completely phase out plastic products by 2032, pushing for sustainable alternatives like compostable, biodegradable, or 100% recycled materials.
This move is well-received, as a 2021 poll revealed that more than 80% of American voters support the National Park Service's decision to halt the sale and distribution of single-use plastics in national parks.The ban encompasses a wide array of single-use plastics, including bottles, bags, food containers, straws, cups, utensils, and more. As Deb Haaland, the secretary of the Interior, said in a statement, "As the steward of the nation’s public lands and the agency responsible for wildlife conservation, we are uniquely positioned to do better for our Earth."
This isn't the first time disposable plastic water bottles have been a focus of policymakers. In 2011, the Obama administration encouraged the National Park Service to cease selling them. Twenty-three iconic national parks, including the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park, responded by ending bottled water sales and installing free bottle-filling stations. This seemingly small change had a significant impact, removing two million water bottles annually from both national parks and oceans.
National parks are meant to safeguard our beautiful landscapes and the wildlife that calls them home. To truly fulfill this purpose, we must protect these areas from plastic waste. So how will this ban affect the public and what can you do to contribute to this cause? Start by bringing your own reusable bottle to the parks and using the provided refilling stations. Encourage your local parks to stock RAIN Pure Mountain Spring Water, which are not only 100% plastic free, but also 100% recyclable. After your adventure, continue to reuse your RAIN bottle and don't forget to snap a photo and hashtag #RAINinthewild!