Until the outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic, the US plastics industry was losing ground. Bans on plastic packaging were spreading like wildfire across municipalities and state capitals, reflecting a growing consensus against a material tainted in the public mind.
Then the pandemic struck. As communities across the nation hunkered down at home, the plastics industry drew battle plans to exploit the crisis.
At the core of their disinformation campaign, the industry exaggerated the risks of transmitting the virus through contact with surfaces in order to prize open new markets for single-use plastics, re-brand their products around safety and lobby for essential worker exemptions to the social distancing guidelines unavailable to the thousands of small businesses struggling for survival.
Across the plastic supply chain, the industry has won environmental rollbacks with deadly consequences, it’s fighting for a tax-payer funded bailout in its drive to lock in a massive expansion of plastic production over the next decade.
It’s time to launch a fightback and push for a just transition.
Immediately reinstate the EPA’s enforcement of air and water quality standards for the petrochemical facilities polluting fenceline communities.
Reinstate and expand local and state plastics reduction laws, including ending the suspension of bag bans and bottle deposit return systems.
Support restaurants, universities and businesses in transitioning to safe systems for reuse.
Institute a national moratorium on the construction of new or expanded petrochemical facilities and terminate essential worker exemptions for petrochemical companies producing non-essential products during the pandemic.
Reject federal or state recovery funds for plastics producers and manufacturers.
Reject legislation burdening the taxpayer with the cost of additional recycling infrastructure
Support the passage of strong producer responsibility laws at the local, state and federal level
Urge your member of Congress: co-sponsor the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act!
The plastics industry has cynically exploited the coronavirus pandemic for their own gains. It’s time to fight back by supporting the most ambitious federal legislation ever proposed to tackle the plastic crisis.