Ted Danson urges lawmakers to take action against single-use plastics
© Greg Nash

Actor and longtime environmental activist Ted Danson urged lawmakers on Tuesday to enact legislation to reduce the production of single-use plastics that experts say pose an increasing risk to ocean health.

Speaking before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife, Danson, a board member of the conservation nonprofit Oceana, argued that a reduction in plastic production is a better solution than recycling, saying only 9 percent of plastic produced has been recycled.

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“Don’t fall for the false promise of recycling, and please don’t stoop to incineration,” Danson said. “We must stop the runaway increase of plastic production and reduce the amount of plastic companies make and are foisting on us, because it will last forever.”

“Recycling is like trying to mop up water from an overflowing bathtub while the faucet is still running. We need to turn off the faucet and reduce production of plastic,” he added.

Danson has been increasingly active in advocating environmental causes in Washington. On Friday, he was arrested with actress Jane Fonda during a climate change protest on Capitol Hill.

Fonda had been arrested several times this October amid climate demonstrations, telling The Washington Post recently that she plans to get detained every Friday for 14 weeks to raise awareness for climate change.

Danson, who currently stars on NBC’s “The Good Place,” in 1987 co-founded the American Oceans Campaign, which later merged with the international environmental group Oceana. Oceana describes itself as the largest organization dedicated solely to promoting ocean conservation.

Danson urged lawmakers not to consider the prevention of plastic waste to be a partisan issue.

“[Plastic] has been incredibly useful and now it has become incredibly dangerous, and I think that’s the argument. Not that the left or the right has any monopoly on being smart about things. This is a problem for all of us and we all need to find ways to do it, and I do believe we are capable."

"If you want to take care of your children, you have to start addressing these incredibly inconvenient things that we have all gotten used to and enjoy that they are no longer good for us and they are going to land on our children and grandchildren in a huge way."