Each of us is consuming a credit card’s worth of plastic waste each week, according to the office of U.S. Senator Tom Udall.
To anyone in the know, the situation is dire. The average American consumer believes that their home recycling efforts are resulting in a cleaner world.
But, the majority of our plastic goes to landfills or incinerators or even worse, is shipped to other countries where the end result is similar. As a result, we have plastic everywhere in our world, from mountain springs to farm fields, resulting in our consistent, direct consumption of plastics.
In an effort to curb this unhealthy plastic diet, U.S. Senator Tom Udall and U.S. Representative Alan Lowenthal introduced the “Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act of 2020” on Tuesday. “The bill,” Udall’s office states, “calls on all of us, from companies to communities, to address this crisis head-on so that we can create a plastic pollution free world.”
With skyrocketing costs after China shutting the doors on further plastic imports, many cities now reject plastic recycling. To these address these issues, The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act would accomplish the following:
David Biderman, the executive director and CEO for the Solid Waste Association of North America, commented that the bill’s odds are not high, given that other pro-recycling bills “have bipartisan support.”
The track record for similar “Bottle Bills” is not good. Large beverage manufacturers such as Coca-Cola claim to take the lead in supporting container deposit laws, but then fail when the measures add handling costs to their operations.
Upon Senator Udall’s announcement, World Wildlife Fund immediately endorsed the legislation, stating, “The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act will provide the capital and incentives we need to reduce unnecessary waste and work toward a truly circular economy.”
While Democrats may be alone in supporting the bill, as no Republicans have yet to sign on, environmentalists are enjoying support from “across the aisle” among business leaders concerned with a triple bottom line.
The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), which counts among its membership companies such as Lego, Clif Bar, Ben & Jerry’s, Eileen Fisher and Seventh Generation, also released a statement of support on Tuesday. ASBC Senior Vice President Thomas Oppel explained that “the crisis is a real risk to our economy.” At the same time, he viewed taking action as an opportunity that would “stimulate research and development leading to thousands of new entrepreneurial opportunities.”
Image credit: Brian Yurasits/Unsplash
Greg Heilers writes on green business and sustainability for private clients and top publications. After graduating from university, he had the privilege to learn from opportunities in France, Palestine, Scotland, Guatemala and the USA. Today, he lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, and enjoys any chance he gets to garden or hike.