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Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste (2022)

Chapter:Appendix B: Definitions and Acronyms

« Previous: Appendix A: Biographies of the Committee on the United States Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Definitions and Acronyms." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
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B

Definitions and Acronyms

Leakage: Loss of custodial control of plastic material to the environment, including during routine activities.

Marine debris or marine litter: Any persistent, manufactured, or processed solid material that is directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, discarded, disposed of, or abandoned into the marine, coastal, or Great Lakes environment. This definition excludes natural flotsam, such as trees washed out to sea, and focuses on non-biodegradable synthetic materials that persist in the marine environment (definition adapted from multiple sources).

Microplastic: A plastic object from 1 to 1,000 µm in size as determined by the object’s largest dimension (definition adapted from Hartmann et al. 2019).

Ocean plastic waste: A subset of marine debris; plastic waste in the marine environment including estuaries, coastlines, seawater (sea surface and water column), seafloor sediments, biota, and sea ice (these are similar ocean reservoirs as defined in Law 2017).

Ocean plastic waste, plastic marine debris, plastic marine litter, and marine plastic pollution are collapsed for clarity and used interchangeably.

Plastic solid waste: The subset of solid waste that is composed of plastics.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Definitions and Acronyms." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
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Plastic waste: Any plastic that has been intentionally or unintentionally taken out of use and that has entered a waste stream as part of a waste management process or released into the environment. Plastic waste in the environment is typically characterized according to size. Size classifications in this report follow the classifications used by the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of the Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP 2019) and adopted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program.

Plastics: A wide range of synthetic polymeric materials and associated additives made from petrochemical, natural gas, or biologically based feedstocks and with thermoplastic, thermoset, or elastomeric properties used in a wide variety of applications including packaging, building and construction, household and sports equipment, vehicles, electronics, and agriculture, and which occur in a solid state in the environment.

Solid waste: Residential, commercial, and institutional waste (Kaza et al. 2018). Industrial, medical, hazardous, electronic, and construction and demolition waste are excluded from this definition.

Virgin plastic: Plastic resin produced from a petrochemical, natural gas, or biobased feedstock, which has never been used or processed.

ACC American Chemistry Council
ALDFG abandoned, lost, or otherwise discarded fishing gear
ASTM ASTM International (formerly American Society for Testing and Materials)
BMT billion metric tons
CERCLA Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act
CFCs chlorofluorocarbons
CFR Code of Federal Regulations
CWA Clean Water Act
DDT dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane
EPR extended producer responsibility
EPS expanded polystyrene
EU European Union
FTIR Fourier transform infrared
GAO Government Accountability Office
GESAMP Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of the Marine Environmental Protection
HBCDs hexabromocyclododecanes
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Definitions and Acronyms." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
×
HDPE high-density polyethylene
ICC International Coastal Cleanup
IMDCC Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating Committee
ISO International Standards Organization
LDPE low-density polyethylene
LIDAR Light Detection and Ranging
LLDPE linear low-density polyethylene
MDMAP Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project
MDP Marine Debris Program
MEE Ministry of Ecology and Environment
MMT million metric tons
MRF material recovery facility
MSW municipal solid waste
NDPB non-degradable plastic bags
NDRC National Development and Reform Commission
NIR near-infrared
NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NSPT non-degradable single-use plastic tableware
OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
OSB Ocean Studies Board
PE polyethylene
PET polyethylene terephthalate
PP polypropylene
PPE personal protective equipment
PS polystyrene
PVC polyvinyl chloride
py-GC-MS pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry
RCRA Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
RGB red-green-blue
SOT statement of task
SWIR shortwave infrared
TED-GC-MS thermal extraction-desorption gas chromatography-mass spectrometry
TMDL Total Maximum Daily Load
TPU thermoplastic polyurethane
TRI Toxics Release Inventory
U.S. EPA United States Environmental Protection Agency
UAV unmanned aerial vehicle
UNEP United Nations Environment Programme
USGS U.S. Geological Survey
UV ultraviolet
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Definitions and Acronyms." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
×

REFERENCES

GESAMP (Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of the Marine Environmental Protection). 2019. Guidelines or the Monitoring and Assessment of Plastic Litter and Microplastics in the Ocean, edited by P. J. Kershaw, A. Turra, and F. Galgani.

Hartmann, N. B., T. Hüffer, R. C. Thompson, M. Hassellöv, A. Verschoor, A. E. Daugaard, S. Rist, T. Karlsson, N. Brennholt, M. Cole, M. P. Herrling, M. C. Hess, N. P. Ivleva, A. L. Lusher, and M. Wagner. 2019. “Are we speaking the same language? Recommendations for a definition and categorization framework for plastic debris.” Environ Sci Technol 53 (3):1039-1047. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.8b05297.

Kaza, S., L. Yao, P. Bhada-Tata, and F. Van Woerden. 2018. What a Waste 2.0: A Global Snapshot of Solid Waste Management to 2050. Washington, D.C.: World Bank.

Law, K. L. 2017. “Plastics in the marine environment.” Ann Rev Mar Sci 9:205-229. doi: 10.1146/annurev-marine-010816-060409.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Definitions and Acronyms." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Definitions and Acronyms." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
×
Page214
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Definitions and Acronyms." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
×
Page215
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Definitions and Acronyms." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26132.
×
Page216
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An estimated 8 million metric tons (MMT) of plastic waste enters the world's ocean each year - the equivalent of dumping a garbage truck of plastic waste into the ocean every minute. Plastic waste is now found in almost every marine habitat, from the ocean surface to deep sea sediments to the ocean's vast mid-water region, as well as the Great Lakes. This report responds to a request in the bipartisan Save Our Seas 2.0 Act for a scientific synthesis of the role of the United States both in contributing to and responding to global ocean plastic waste.

The United States is a major producer of plastics and in 2016, generated more plastic waste by weight and per capita than any other nation. Although the U.S. solid waste management system is advanced, it is not sufficient to deter leakage into the environment. Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste calls for a national strategy by the end of 2022 to reduce the nation's contribution to global ocean plastic waste at every step - from production to its entry into the environment - including by substantially reducing U.S. solid waste generation. This report also recommends a nationally-coordinated and expanded monitoring system to track plastic pollution in order to understand the scales and sources of U.S. plastic waste, set reduction and management priorities, and measure progress.

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