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Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act Reintroduced

Nikola Gemeš

April 13, 2021
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Federal lawmakers have reintroduced the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act, a formidable recycling bill that launched a huge debate over how to reduce plastic use in the country.

According to Waste Dive, the bill retains many of its provisions from last year, such as a nationwide extended producer responsibility (EPR) program, minimum recycled content mandates for certain products, a national container deposit system, and bans of single-use plastic products.

“Sponsored by Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif., and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., the bill is backed by more than 400 environmental advocacy groups. They say sweeping changes are needed to reduce plastic production at its source, improve recycling, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect disproportionately affected communities. The bill is co-sponsored by dozens of Democrats, but so far no Republicans have signed on.”

The new version of the bill includes updates that mostly focus on refillable and returnable containers.

However, several plastic industry groups oppose the bill.

Joshua Baca, vice president of American Chemistry Council’s plastics division says the bill is a misguided and harmful piece of legislation that restricts innovation and impacts jobs.

Much of the plastics industry criticism is on the bills calling for a temporary freeze on permitting new plastic production facilities until the federal government can investigate their health and environmental impacts.

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