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Plastic-Free Parks

Our national parks are our most treasured outdoor spaces. Plastic has been found across every coastline in the world and on top of the world’s tallest mountains, and it’s designed to last forever.

Single-use plastic waste is threatening our most beloved marine life — from seabirds and turtles left starving from stomachs too full of plastic, to whales and seals helplessly wrapped in plastic garbage.

Once in our environment, plastic breaks down into smaller microplastics that make their way into our soil, food supply, and eventually our own bodies. Plastics contain toxic chemicals like BPA and phthalates that threaten public health and are linked to cancer, liver damage, asthma, and other illnesses. 

The United Nations recently approved a landmark agreement to create the world’s first ever global plastic pollution treaty—now we need a solution here at home to help our climate and communities recover.

That’s why, to keep single-use plastics out of our national parks, we’re hosting a National Parks Week of action from April 18 to April 24 to highlight and garner support for the Reducing Waste in National Parks Act (S.2960/HR 5533).

This bill would establish a national plan to eliminate the sale and distribution of single-use plastic beverage bottles, bags, foodware and foam products inside national parks.  By reducing the amount of single-use plastic items sold and distributed within national parks, we will protect wildlife, keep parks clean and pristine, and alleviate the unnecessary burden of waste management on National Park Service staff and resources. 

What you can do!

Join OPS and partners in sharing your message for why you want plastic-free parks.

It’s super easy — just head to a national park or monument near you, and create a 30-second message that tells Congress to pass the Reducing Waste in National Parks Act (S.2960/HR 5533). This will help us build power on the ground and demonstrate widespread support for the issue.

Here’s how! 

Step by Step Video Instructions:

  1. Record a 30- to 60-second video of you in your local national park sharing why this place is special to you and why it’s important for the National Park Service to eliminate the sale and distribution of single-use plastic.
  2. Make sure the camera/smartphone is horizontally oriented (aka in landscape mode).
  3. Make sure you are well-lit (e.g., do not shoot with the sun behind you).
  4. We will run select videos on our social channels and you can submit one to [email protected] before April 15, 2022.
  5. Post your video on social media, too. Post between April 18 and 24.

Video Script: 

*This is a guideline — feel free to modify or add anything you’d like. Just keep it short and don’t forget to mention the bill!*

Hi, I’m _________. I am here in _______ National [Park/Monument] today. 

I love our national parks because ________________. 

This is why we need to eliminate plastic pollution in national parks. Congress should pass the Reducing Waste in National Parks Act (S.2960/HR 5533). This bill would establish a national plan to eliminate the sale and distribution of single-use plastics inside our nation’s most beautiful, sacred, and beloved lands and oceans.

After collecting your videos: 

  1. Post your video on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram between April 18 and 24. Be sure to tag OPS. Use the hashtags #PlasticFreeParks #LeaveNoTrace
  2. Each video submission qualifies for a chance to win a signed Racing Extinction DVD.
  3. Have fun!

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