October 07, 2020

Udall, Lowenthal Call for Action Following Industry Support for Packaging Fees to Tackle Plastic Pollution

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representative Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) released the following statement after two major industry organizations announced newfound support for packaging fees to support recycling—a key principle of the lawmakers’ Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2020:

“The announcement that major manufacturers and consumer products companies now support paying fees to support recycling is a big step in the right direction. It is encouraging that the debate on action to address the plastic pollution crisis is no longer about if producers should be contributing to the clean-up of plastic and packaging waste, but rather, how much. However, the proposals from The Recycling Partnership and the American Chemistry Council continue to place too much of the burden of cleaning up the excessive waste they create on taxpayers, instead of on the producers, many of those being for-profit members of these organizations. The proposal narrowly focuses on recycling a small amount of the waste produced, rather than reducing the production of wasteful and impossible to recycle products in the first place. 

“Using producer fees—rather than taxpayer dollars—to fix our broken recycling system is a major pillar of our legislation, but it is not the only one. We look forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders, including industry, on the broader comprehensive framework we introduced with the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act. Requiring consumer brand companies and manufacturers to take responsibility for their excessive waste is absolutely necessary to tackle the colossal plastic and packaging waste problem that is choking our planet. Now that major industry groups are coming around to this reality, it’s time for Congress to act to fix this wasteful and unsustainable system.”

More information on the landmark Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act can be found here.