Break Free From Plastics Act!
A Comprehensive Reform Bill To Stem U.S. Plastic Pollution
Please join ECOlunchbox in supporting national legislation to regulate plastics. The Break Free From Plastics Act has been introduced in the U.S. Capitol, paving the way for implementation of policies designed to stem the tide of pollution created by plastic at every stage in its lifecycle.
The impactful legislation is designed to reduce the production and use of certain single-use plastics and improve responsibility of producers and recyclers.
“We can all do a lot ourselves to reduce our dependence on plastics, but systematic changes to stem the tide of plastic pollution are needed to truly address this crisis,” said ECOlunchbox Founder and CEO Sandra Ann Harris. “This legislation gives me hope that we can rein in the out of control use and disposal of plastic which is poisoning our planet.”
Harris is an environmental entrepreneur who started ECOlunchbox in 2008 to educate, inspire and activate people globally to say goodbye to plastic. She is the author of “Say Goodbye To Plastic: A Survival Guide To Plastic-Free Living” that was published by Hatherleigh Press and is distributed by Penguin Random House.
If passed, the comprehensive bill (H.R. 2238, S.984) sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), will protect people and planet by regulating the extraction petrochemicals used to make plastics as well as its manufacturing and the distribution, disposal and recycling or plastic products.
“A lot of people like me have been living as plastic free as possible for years and crying for policy changes. Now the time is finally here and we’re getting the support from the top that we need to hold the plastics industry accountable for their products and pollution,” Harris said. “There’s a lot we can do as citizen activists and the local and state bag bans that got the plastic pollution movement rolling are evidence of that. But now is the time, before it’s too late, to comprehensively stem the tide of pollution that’s devastating human and planetary health by approaching this crisis systematically.”
Specific elements of the Break Free From Plastic Act 2021 include:
- Require producers of packaging, containers, and food-service products to design, manage, and finance waste and recycling programs.
- Ban certain single-use plastic products that are not recyclable.
- Launch a nationwide beverage container refund program to bolster recycling rates.
- Ban single-use plastic carryout bags and mandate fees on the distribution of paper and other carryout bags.
- Establish minimum recycled content requirements for beverage containers, packaging, and food-service products.
- Funds investments in U.S. domestic recycling and composting infrastructure.
- Define recycling more strictly as well as forbid plastic waste from being shipped to developing countries.
- Calls for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to partner with the National Academies of Science to conduct a study on the environment and health impacts of incinerators and plastic chemical recycling facilities.
- Establish a temporary pause on new plastic production facilities while the U.S. EPA updates regulations to protect frontline and fenceline communities from associated public health hazards.
- Protect state and local governments that enact more stringent standards.