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President Biden Executive Order Seeks to Replace Single-Use Plastics

Moving to address the global plastic pollution crisis, President Joseph R. Biden signed an executive order in April 2023 outlining a comprehensive plan to address plastic pollutants and other environmental issues and chart a path toward a healthier, more equitable, and resilient environment.

The President has set a goal to replace 90% of fossil-fuel-based plastics with bio-based alternatives over the next 20 years. The plan aligns with the Biden administration’s vision of a greener, more sustainable future.

David E. Strickler x Unsplash

The Plastics Predicament

Plastic pollution is a pressing global concern, with dire effects on the environment, wildlife, and human health. Single-use plastics – those used once and thrown away – clog landfills, contaminate oceans, and harm natural habitats. They are expected to take centuries to decompose.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says that, globally, 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute, and up to 5 trillion plastic bags are used yearly. But so far, less than 10% of all the plastic generated has been recycled.

The President’s order underscores the urgent need to reduce plastic usage, explore innovative options that are kinder to the environment, and ultimately reduce and replace traditional plastics with sustainable alternatives. It highlights the importance of biotechnology and biomanufacturing in helping to meet these environmental challenges and promote environmental justice for all communities.

The United Nations Environment Programme says that, globally, 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute, and up to 5 trillion plastic bags are used yearly. But so far, less than 10% of all the plastic generated has been recycled.

Crucial Role of Biotech and Biomanufacturing

Biotech and biomanufacturing hold immense potential in creating sustainable alternatives to conventional plastics. Biodegradable plastics, for instance, can be derived from renewable resources, significantly diminishing their environmental impact.

Also, biomanufacturing processes are often more energy-efficient (low-carbon-emission) and ecologically sound than traditional manufacturing methods.

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The Biden administration notes that nurturing innovation in biotechnology and biomanufacturing is also pivotal to advancing broader societal goals, including economic growth and job creation.

Lauris Rozentals & Create & Bloom x Unsplash

5 Highlights of the Biden Executive Order

President Biden’s comprehensive strategy proposes reducing and ultimately replacing plastics with sustainable alternatives via these key objectives and initiatives:

1. Reducing Single-use Plastics

The executive order champions substantially decreasing the production and consumption of single-use plastics and emphasizes using materials with a lower environmental footprint.

2. Research and Development

The order underscores the importance of investment in the biotechnology and biomanufacturing sectors, intending to create sustainable substitutes for conventional plastics, including biodegradable plastics derived from renewable resources.

Biden-Harris Administration Environment
Pauline Loroy x Unsplash

3. Public/Private Synergy

President Biden’s plan encourages close cooperation between the public and private sectors. Working together, their goal would be to speed up innovation, bolster resource allocation, boost development, and promote the adoption of eco-friendly materials.

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3. Environmental Justice

At the core of the Presidential order is environmental justice. It aims to ensure that the benefits of these initiatives are shared equally across all communities, including frequently marginalized groups that historically face a heavier burden from degrading environments.

4. Global Cooperation

The order recognizes that the plastic pollution problem is a worldwide issue and emphasizes how important it is for countries to collaborate. The United States will work with other nations to promote sustainable practices and reduce plastic waste worldwide.

So, what do you think about the Biden-Harris Administration implementing eco-friendly legislation? Do you think this is a positive step in the right direction for combating pollution? And do you think it will benefit our communities?


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