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Draft Legislation from Senator Udall and Representative Lowenthal Misses the Mark

Misguided Legislation Could Increase Environmental ImpactsWASHINGTON (November 4, 2019)—U.S. Senator Tom Udall and U.S. Representative Alan Lowenthal this week circulated draft legislation designed to address plastic waste. The American Chemistry Council responded with the following statement, which may be attributed to Steve Russell, vice president of ACC’s Plastics Division:

“ACC and our members are working to end plastic waste, and we welcome the opportunity to work with Congress to shape legislation that will help improve plastic recycling and recovery in the United States. We have worked constructively to advance the bipartisan Save our Seas Act (versions 1.0 and 2.0), and the Microbead Free Waters Act. And our members are leading in the deployment of system improvements and technology advances to convert a variety of used plastics into resources to make new plastics.

But suggestions, such as a moratorium on new plastic facilities, would impact the availability of plastic for all uses, including those which save finite resources and reduce greenhouse gas impacts. Society needs plastics to live more sustainably. Plastics make our cars lighter and more fuel efficient and our homes more energy efficient while significantly lowering our carbon footprint. Plastic food packaging and pipe deliver clean food and water to people in our communities and around the globe. And plastics make possible affordable medical and personal care products. An award-winning study by the firm Trucost found that replacing plastics with alternatives in common packages and consumer products would raise environmental costs nearly fourfold.

But we agree more needs to be done to move toward a more circular economy for plastics.

  • America’s plastic makers are partnering with government, scientists and nonprofit 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 repurposed by 2040. And 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.

Publication date: 04/11/2019

American Plastics Council

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Last update: 2022-01-31