White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy should create a new program to
- improve global competitiveness of the US plastics recycling industry
- ensure U.S. leadership in plastics waste reduction and recycling research
- ensure U.S. leadership in national and international standards development
- and reduce the harmful effects of plastic waste
The bill asks federal government to create a plastic waste reduction plan and develop standards for plastics recycling technologies.
Message from Politician who introduced the bill
Stevens Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Reduce Plastic Waste
WASHINGTON — Today, Reps. Haley Stevens (MI-11), the Chairwoman of the House Science Subcommittee on Research and Technology, and Anthony Gonzalez (OH-16) introduced bipartisan legislation to reduce plastic waste and improve the global competitiveness of the United States plastics recycling industry. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Ranking Member Frank Lucas (OK-03), and Representative Francis Rooney (FL-19) are original co-sponsors of the legislation.
The Plastic Waste Reduction and Recycling Act directs the establishment of a plastic waste reduction and recycling research and development program, calls on the Federal government to develop a strategic plan for plastic waste reduction, and calls for the development of standards for plastics recycling technologies.
“We can no longer deny that we face a plastic waste crisis,” said Congresswoman Stevens. “In 2018, the U.S. woke up to the fragile predicament of our plastic waste management system. No longer able to ship our plastic waste to international markets, U.S. cities were forced to cut longstanding recycling programs. Instead, they had to resort to incinerating recyclables or tossing them in landfills. There are plenty of reasons for why and how we got here; however, a major factor is because we failed as a nation to invest in domestic recycling infrastructure and policies to account for the growing demand for plastic. As a result, today, the U.S. recycles just 9% of its plastic waste. The Plastic Waste Reduction and Recycling Act will help develop a world-leading U.S. industry in advanced plastics recycling technologies, and unleash the innovative potential of our nation to address our plastic waste crisis and generate greater value from the plastics we do produce.”
In December 2019, Congresswoman Stevens launched the Congressional Plastics Solutions Task Force, a coalition of lawmakers working together with state and local officials and industry representatives to facilitate investment in recycling technologies and promote education on plastics generation and recovery. As Chair of the Research & Technology Subcommittee, Congresswoman Stevens convened the first Science Committee hearing about recycling in a decade after hearing concerns about the long-term viability of local recycling programs in southeast Michigan.
The Plastic Waste Reduction and Recycling Act:
- Directs the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy to establish a “Plastic Waste Reduction and Recycling Program.” The purpose of the program is to improve the global competitiveness of the United States plastics recycling industry, ensure U.S. leadership in plastics waste reduction and recycling research, ensure U.S. leadership in national and international standards development, and reduce any harmful effects of plastic waste on the environment.
- Directs the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy to establish an interagency committee to coordinate the program and develop a strategic plan for plastic waste reduction and recycling and plastic waste remediation.
- Directs the National Institute of Standards and Technologies to carry out research and provide the metrology basis for standards development for plastics recycling and related technologies, and to develop a clearinghouse to support dissemination of the tools, guidelines, and standards supported by the program.
- Directs the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to support research and other activities on advanced recycling technologies, plastic waste remediation, and the public health impacts of microplastics, among other topics.
- Authorizes funding for 5 years and invests $85 million in fiscal year 2021 for these activities. Authorizes a 6.5% increase over the previous year’s authorization for each of fiscal years 2022, 2023, 2024, and 2025.
The Plastic Waste Reduction and Recycling Act is endorsed by the American Chemistry Council, American Chemical Society, American Beverage Association, and Plastics Industry Association.
Reaction from Plastics Industry Association
PLASTICS CEO COMMENTS ON TODAY’S SENATE RECYCLING HEARING
Tony Radoszewski, President and CEO of the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS), issued the following statement on today’s Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hearing, entitled “Responding to the Challenges Facing Recycling in the United States”:
“We thank Chairman Barrasso, Ranking Member Carper and Members of the Committee for holding today’s hearing exploring issues facing recycling in the United States. As Chairman Barrasso said, plastics have played an essential role in our country’s response to the pandemic. Expert witnesses also testified to plastic’s low carbon footprint compared to other materials, its role in preventing food and other waste, and the potential of improved recycling to recover the value of discarded plastic and create revenue for local governments, while reducing disposal costs.
Simply banning plastic is impractical and won’t work. We support measures such as the RECOVER Act to protect and grow recycling jobs and to drive innovation at America’s leading companies, as well as the RECYCLE Act to improve recycling education. We would like to also thank Senators Sullivan and Whitehouse for their bipartisan work on the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act to protect the environment.”
Reaction from American Chemical Council
Plastics Waste Reduction and Recycling Act Would Bolster Global Competitiveness of U.S. Recycling Industry
WASHINGTON (June 16, 2020) – The U.S. House of Representatives today introduced the Plastics Waste Reduction and Recycling Act (HR 7228). The following statement may be attributed to Keith Christman, ACC’s managing director of plastic markets:
The American Chemistry Council strongly supports the Plastics Waste Reduction and Recycling Act, which would marshal federal government resources to improve the global competitiveness of the U.S. plastics recycling industry. If passed, this important legislation would help capture the potential value of used plastics through enhanced research and development, as well as the creation of standards, tools and technologies needed to modernize and expand today’s recycling systems. Under the Act, funds would go to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Passing the Plastics Waste Reduction and Recycling Act would accelerate research and development on advanced plastics recycling technologies, which would enable a significantly greater range of our plastics resources to be repurposed. It also would increase research and coordination across federal agencies on plastic waste reduction as well as recycling. The ACC appreciates the approach taken by Reps. Haley Stevens and Anthony Gonzalez to better align and coordinate these various initiatives and harness the expertise of different agencies for greater success in ending plastic waste.
Plastics play a number of critical roles in our society, and their value extends beyond initial use. America’s plastic makers are working with industry partners, government and nonprofits to build a more circular economy for plastics so these resources are harnessed and redeployed to benefit our communities and ecosystems. We have set goals for all plastic packaging used in the United States to be recyclable or recoverable by 2030 and to be recycled, reused or repurposed by 2040. Since July 2017, the private sector has announced investments of nearly $5 billion in innovative technologies to improve and expand plastics recycling in the United States.
Plastics in the Circular Economy
15 June 2020 – Chemical Recycling Commitments and Incentives, Deep Sea Plastic, Greece Plastic Ban, NY Composting
12 June 2020 – Michigan Waste, Definitions, Greenpeace Malaysia, Tax and Voluntary Schemes, Shell Sustainable and Circular Plastics News
7 June 2020 – Industry 4.0, PEF, Perstorp, Timber and Chemical Recycling
5 June 2020 – Woodly, Plastic-Free Masks, Plastic Tax, UK & US Survey, Biodegradable War, Spain
3 June 2020 – Chemical Recycling Europe, Sustainability on Hold, Lyondellbasell, Ikea, Covestro
2 June 2020 – EU and Compostable Plastics, Biodegradable Additives, RWDC, Black Plastic, Oxo
1 June 2020 – Nestle, Denmark, Weather, Mitsui, Plastic Free July, Compost Shortage
31 May 2020 – Iowa, Zalando, Sabic, South Africa, Dow and Mondelez
29 May 2020 – China Scandal, Mitsubishi, Tyres, Flexible Packaging, Sargassum, Canada Lignin
27 May 2020 – SK Chemical, Borealis, Omya, Stora Enso, UPM, Dow and Good Natured