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PLASTICS: Break free act lacks collaboration needed to achieve real sustainability goals

The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) announced its strong opposition and disappointment in the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act of 2023, as reintroduced in the U.S. Congress.

Matt Seaholm headshot

Matt Seaholm

“Instead of working towards compromise and common-sense policies, this new iteration of the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act is even worse and less collaborative than previously, moving further from a realistic proposal,” said Matt Seaholm, President and CEO of PLASTICS.  “The plastics industry stands ready to work with both sides of the aisle to develop real solutions to the environmental concerns this measure supposedly addresses. We believe there are answers to the environmental challenges we face, such as investments in recycling infrastructure and greater demand for recycled content through minimum requirements and stronger end-markets.

“Plastics is the preferred material in many applications because it uses less energy and fewer resources to manufacture and transport, in addition to its ability to be reused and recycled—but this misguided legislation overlooks scientific facts and would likely unintentionally lead to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

“The Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act would negatively impact the American economy, harm the over one million men and woman who are employed by the plastics industry and hurt other industries reliant upon them as an essential part of the supply chain.

“Instead of one-sided proposals that don’t move us forward, we need to work together to craft sound policy that will actually help our environment,” concluded Seaholm.

Facts about plastic:

  • Of the materials used for consumer products, plastic has the lowest GHG impact; An independent study from McKinsey & Co. found plastics help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10-90%.
  • The overwhelming majority of plastic waste will not be addressed by this legislation; more than 90% of plastic in the oceans comes from 10 river systems in Southeast Asia and Africa—not from the U.S and not subject to this legislation.
  • Plastics only make up 12% of municipal solid waste, and packaging only makes up 5%.
  • Thousands of facilities across the United States are involved in the manufacturing of plastics; this legislation could prompt many to shutter and move offshore to countries with less environmental safeguards.
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