U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representative Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) announces plans to introduce legislation later this year aimed at helping end plastic waste. Udall and Lowenthal also shared an outline of their bill. The American Chemistry Council issued the following statement in response to the announcement:
“America’s plastic makers are fully committed to doing our part to help end plastic waste, and we welcome the opportunity to work with Congress in shaping legislation that will help cleanup and protect our environment.
“For example, we support the bipartisan Save Our Seas 2.0 Act introduced earlier this year, which would aid scientists and agencies in identifying innovative ways to repurpose used plastics and to study technologies for converting these materials into resources for new manufacturing. SOS 2.0 also would provide assistance to help nations with rapidly developing economies build the infrastructure and systems needed to recycle, recover and manage more waste. Research shows that more than 60 percent of waste enters the ocean from just five countries. In contrast, less than one percent of ocean leakage occurs in the United States. These steps are critical for accelerating the move toward a circular economy in the United States and abroad.
“Unfortunately, the outline of new legislation released today suggests banning certain plastics, which, studies show, would have the unintended consequences of increasing greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts. A robust study completed in 2015 by the firm Trucost shows that replacing plastics with alternatives in common packages and consumer products would raise environmental costs nearly fourfold.
“America’s plastics makers are partnering with government, scientists and non-profit organizations to develop solutions to help end plastic waste, such as by designing new products for greater recyclability, and by increasing technologies and systems to collect and repurpose more of our plastic resources. We’ve established a goal of making all plastic packaging in the United States recyclable or recoverable by 2030 and for all plastic packaging to be reused, recycled or recovered by 2040.
“Many of America’s plastic makers are among the founders of and contributors to the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, a new nonprofit with a goal of deploying $1.5 billion to help develop the systems, knowledge, and infrastructure needed to collect and repurpose plastic waste in the environment, including in regions where most of the leakage occurs.” Other key members of the Alliance include brand owners, plastic processors and recyclers.”