Introduce Bold Federal Legislation to Tackle the Plastic Pollution Crisis

Active | July 22 2019

Plastic Pollution

The Surfrider Foundation is working with U.S. Senator Tom Udall and U.S. Representative Alan Lowenthal’s to introduce bold federal legislation to tackle the plastic pollution crisis.

In July, U.S. Sen.Tom Udall of New Mexico and U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal of California announced an outline of bold federal legislation to tackle the plastic waste pollution crisis. The lawmakers are seeking input from stakeholders and plan to introduce comprehensive legislation this fall.

In January, the Surfrider Foundation and University of California Los Angeles Law School Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment presented at two Congressional Briefings on Capitol Hill to discuss plastic pollution solutions. The Surfrider Foundation met with federal lawmakers at that time and was influential in developing this outline.

In August, Surfrider Foundation submitted a comment letter signed by 55 environmental and environmental justice organizations in support of the outline.  We will also continue to work closely with the lawmakers as they move forward with drafting and introducing the legislation in the fall. 

Components of the legislation outline include: 

  • Obligations for producers (a.k.a Extended Producer Responsibility)
  • National deposit requirement on beverage containers
  • Carryout bag fee
  • Ban on certain plastic products (lightweight plastic carryout bags, cups and lids, cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, snack packaging and drink stirrers)
  • Ban on expanded polystyrene in food-ware, disposable coolers, and shipping packaging
  • Requirements that certain products be made out of 100% recyclable materials and be made from a significant percentage post-consumer recycled content
  • Creates a federal fund to ensure resources are available for pollution reduction, remediation programs, and innovation research
  • Creates a mechanism whereby states lose funding from the federal fund if they adopt preemption laws that prohibit local governments from implementing more aggressive measures to reduce plastic products

Plastic Pollution

Rise Above Plastics is designed to eliminate the impacts of plastics in the marine environment by raising awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution and by advocating for a reduction of single-use plastics and the recycling of all plastics.

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