Groundbreaking plastic pollution act hits congress
The law would overhaul recycling and shift the responsibility to companies
A new bill has been introduced which is designed to phase out single-use plastics.
The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2020 will also overhaul corporate recycling, and hold packaging manufacturers more responsible for reducing waste.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), along with Sen. Jeff Merkey (D-Ore.) and Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.).
It has no Republican co-sponsors, meaning it is unlikely to pass in the Senate.
The bill would reform recycling and waste collection, effectively shifting the onus from consumers to corporations to help solve the plastic problem.
Currently, states are responsible for recycling and cutting plastic use. They put plastic bans and bottle deposit programs in place. This law would move the burden of responsibility to the federal government.
The bill also acts as an incentive for companies to make reusable and recyclable products.
Senator Udall said in a statement: “The plastic pollution crisis is past the tipping point: our communities, our waterways, and even our bodies are at risk. We are already bearing the cleanup costs of mountains of plastic waste, and it will only get worse for future generations. We have a responsibility to act now before the overwhelming public health, environmental, climate and economic effects of plastic pollution reach the point of no return. Our solutions are not only possible—they are practical and are already being implemented in cities and states across the country, including in my home state of New Mexico.”
It’s estimated that around 92% of plastic waste is never recycled.