Technological watch

Plastics Legislation Would Export American Jobs and Hurt Consumers and the Environment

WASHINGTON, DC (October 25, 2023) – Today Sen. Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and Rep. Jared Huffman (Calif.) introduced the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act (BFFPA). The following statement may be attributed to Ross Eisenberg, president of America’s Plastic Makers™:

Congress, America’s plastic makers, and the public agree that plastic waste should never be in our environment. Unfortunately, the legislation introduced today would do little to eliminate plastic pollution while doing a lot to damage the U.S. economy.

The latest version of the BFFPA is even more extreme than previous versions that failed legislatively. Its purpose is not to address plastic pollution. It is intended to shutdown domestic plastic manufacturing, prevent the American public from using a wide range of everyday plastics, provide a fundraising platform for anti-plastic organizations, and vilify a material essential to a more sustainable and lower carbon future. We cannot “break free” from the very materials that help us drive down greenhouse gas emissions throughout critical sectors of our economy.

If BFFPA became law, the consequences would be felt by citizens across America. The three largest impacts would be:

  • The export of well-paid domestic manufacturing careers, mostly to China.
  • Additional costs on American consumers for a multitude of necessities, from food to clothing.
  • Increased climate warming emissions by restricting recycling technologies that reduce carbon emissions as recently underscored by the Department of Energy’s own Argonne National Laboratory; and by shifting plastic manufacturing to countries with less stringent environmental standards.  
  • There is a better way to meaningfully tackle plastic pollution that also bolsters domestic manufacturing. ACC continues to work with Members of Congress to introduce legislation aligned with our 5 Actions for Sustainable Change. Such legislation would require U.S. packaging to have at least 30% recycled plastic by 2030, would appropriately regulate innovative recycling technologies, and develop minimum requirements and standards for recycling around the country, among other components.

    America has an opportunity to lead the globe in transitioning to a circular economy where new plastics are made from used plastics. We will continue to advocate practical and comprehensive policy that will create a more sustainable future, help eliminate plastic pollution and support American manufacturing jobs.

    Publication date: 24/10/2023

    American Plastics Council

    This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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    Last update: 2022-01-31