Only 9 percent of U.S. plastic is recycled, according to the EPA. Happily, our state’s ban on single-use plastic bags will go into effect in October.
However, to make a substantial reduction in plastic, we need to go to the source. The fossil fuel industry has been focused on providing dirty energy by burning natural gas, oil and coal, which damages our planet and leads to global warming. People are now calling for cleaner energy sources, and the industry has seen the writing on the wall. To make up for anticipated shrinking demand for dirty energy, they are shifting their attention to increasing production of plastics and building new plastic factories.
The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2021, S.984 in the Senate and H.R.2238 in the House, puts a “temporary pause” on the construction of new plastic manufacturing facilities by delaying the permitting process during the bill’s implementation. It also calls for makers of plastic products to be responsible for managing and financing programs “to collect and process waste that would normally burden state and local governments.” The bill’s provisions include phaseout of the sale and distribution of certain single use plastic products, as well as prohibiting export of plastic waste to developing nations, where it often becomes trash.
This far-reaching bill could make a big difference in our world. Patty Murray has co-sponsored it in the Senate. She deserves our thanks. Senator Cantwell and Representative McMorris Rodgers deserve a contact to encourage their co-sponsorship as well.