On February 11, Senators Tom Udall and Senator Jeff Merkley alongside U.S. Representatives Alan Lowenthal and  Katherine Clark introduced a landmark bill to reduce plastic pollution and increase corporate recycling. 

Called the  Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2020, the bill would reduce single-use plastic products in packaging, reform recycling and waste collection and hold companies accountable for waste. This law shifts the burden from consumers onto policy and corporations to help clean up the plastic problem.

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A federal law would help support recycling at a higher level. Currently, the burden for recycling and plastic reduction falls on states. State legislation for reducing plastic bags, bottle deposit programs and plastic bans have all made a positive difference in pollution. States have also been responsible for their own trash, recycling, and composting schemes. This law would shift the burden to the federal government.

The bill also incentivizes corporations to make reusable products and recyclable items. It would also make the companies that manufacture plastic products responsible for pollution abatement and clean up.

Senator Udall said in a statement, “The plastic pollution crisis is past the tipping point: our communities, our waterways, and even our bodies are at risk. We are already bearing the cleanup costs of mountains of plastic waste, and it will only get worse for future generations. We have a responsibility to act now before the overwhelming public health, environmental, climate and economic effects of plastic pollution reach the point of no return. Our solutions are not only possible—they are practical and are already being implemented in cities and states across the country, including in my home state of New Mexico.”

Read more about recycling and waste in One Green Planet. Check out these articles:

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There are products you may be using or habits you may have that contribute to plastic pollution. Learn more about how the use of Teabags, Cotton Swabs, Laundry, Contact Lenses, Glitter and Sheet Masks pollute our oceans so you can make more informed decisions going forward. There are also numerous simple actions and switches that can help cut plastic out of our lives including, making your own cosmetics, shampoo, toothpaste, soap, household cleaners, using mason jars, reusable bags/bottles/straws, and avoiding microbeads

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