Senators and House representatives within the U.S. government have introduced and circulated draft bills that aim to increase efforts to better manage material wastes and address marine pollution. The most recent is a draft bill circulated by Tom Udall, Senator for the state of New Mexico. As reported by news provider Waste Dive on November 6, 2019, the bill aims to introduce extended producer responsibility into federal law, implement a national container deposit system using a ten cent fee, and ban certain packaging products including plastic bags, disposable expanded polystyrene food ware, straws, and cotton buds. Income generated from a fee placed on non-reusable plastic bags would be invested in recycling infrastructure and clean-up projects. The current draft also calls for a moratorium on new plastics facilities. With some large industry stakeholders reported to be opposed to container deposit schemes (FPF reported) and recent initiatives to make separate investments into improving bottle collection rates (FPF reported), it’s unclear how much support the draft bill could get as it moves forward in the legal process. The bill is currently open for comment from all stakeholders until November 21, 2019.
House representatives Michael McCaul and Eliot Engel have also submitted the “Partnering and Leveraging Assistance to Stop Trash for Cleaner Seas Act” (PLASTICS Act, Bill H.R. 4636). The draft bill sets out several provisions that “authorize the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development to prioritize and advance efforts to improve waste management systems and prevent and reduce plastic waste and marine debris.” The American Chemistry Council wrote in a statement on October 21, 2019 that it “strongly supports the recently introduced PLASTICS Act, which seeks to reduce ocean plastics by encouraging innovative, market-based solutions and catalyzing private capital to enable the development of integrated waste management systems and strengthen markets for recycled materials.” The bill is now under review by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
E.A. Crunden (November 6, 2019). “National plastics draft bill gains momentum amid industry push to tackle pollution.” Waste Dive
Anne Marie Mohan (November 6, 2019). “Lawmakers Propose Radical Legislation to Address Global Plastic Waste.” Greener Package
ACC (October 21, 2019). “Plastic Makers Welcome House Introduction of Bipartisan ‘Plastics Act’.”
Tom Udall (November 2019). “Draft Copy of RYA19769.” (word file)
U.S. House of Representatives (October 11, 2019). “H.R.4636 – Partnering and Leveraging Assistance to Stop Trash for International Cleaner Seas Act.”