Ruth Jebe, an assistant professor in the Department of Management, published a paper, “Deglobalizing Garbage: U.S. Legislative Responses to Disruption of the Global Plastic Waste Supply Chain”, which was a finalist for the Kubasek Outstanding Environmental Sustainability Law Paper award at the 2020 national conference of the Academy of Legal Studies in Business.
Jebe was interested in this topic because it represents a reality check for developed countries, including the U.S., who export their plastic waste to developing countries. As receiving countries stopped accepting the waste, it forces the U.S. to face its poor plastic waste management and recycling policies and practices.
“My review of pending federal legislation on plastics shows that only one of the proposed bills is comprehensive enough to make a dent in our plastic waste debacle,” said Jebe.
The societal impact of the paper is two-fold.
“First, it sheds light on the global impacts of countries’ waste management policies, especially the impact of those countries that outsource their plastic waste management, as the U.S. does,” she said. “My hope is that it acts as a catalyst, pushing us to reckon with the environmental problems presented by our current use of plastic, rather than foisting those issues onto other countries. Second, the paper focuses attention on the need for federal regulation on this issue, arguing that neither voluntary efforts nor regulation at the state level can address the problem.”