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07 • 22 • 2019

Pass the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act!

Pass the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act!

The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2021 (BFFPPA) builds on state momentum to reduce plastic pollution and production by implementing strategies toward a healthier, more sustainable and more equitable future.

The 2021-2022 federal bill sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR) and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA) represents the most comprehensive set of policy solutions to the plastic pollution crisis ever introduced in Congress.

Surfrider anticipates an updated version of BFFPPA to be introduced in the 2023 Congressional legislative session. We are continuing to gather support for the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act in Congress – add your signature here!

The reintroduced Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act will:

  • Require producers of packaging, containers, and food-service products to design, manage, and finance waste and recycling programs.
  • Launch a nationwide beverage container refund program to bolster recycling rates.
  • Ban certain single-use plastic products that are not recyclable.
  • Ban single-use plastic carryout bags and place a fee on the distribution of the remaining carryout bags, which has proven successful at the state level.
  • Establish minimum recycled content requirements for beverage containers, packaging, and food-service products.
  • Channel massive investments in U.S. domestic recycling and composting infrastructure.
  • Prohibit plastic waste from being shipped to developing countries.
  • Protect state and local governments that enact more stringent standards.
  • Require EPA to partner with the National Academies of Science to conduct a comprehensive study on the environment and cumulative public health impacts of incinerators and plastic chemical recycling facilities.
  • Establish a temporary pause on permitting new and expanded plastic production facilities while the EPA creates and, as necessary, updates regulations on plastic production facilities to protect frontline and fenceline communities from direct and cumulative impacts on public health.
  • Requires a study on derelict fishing gear and a description of actions the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere will take within the first year after the report is published. 

Updates for reintroduction include:

  • Closes waste export loopholes by banning waste exports to countries who themselves re-export to developing countries.
  • Includes additional language to ensure minimum standards for what bags can be considered “reusable.”
  • Includes important language justice requirements to ensure that professional translation services are provided for non-English speaking communities and accessibility services for the disability community.
  • Expands the definition of toxic chemicals and prohibits such toxic chemicals from being included in covered products.
  • Includes actions to limit microfiber pollution by mandating filters on washing machines and requires a study on best practices for upstream microfiber pollution prevention.
  • Incentivizes greater reuse through the creation of pilot programs to implement reuse and refill technology.
  • Expands previous language tackling plastic pellet pollution, microplastic pollution, and wet wipe labelling standards.

Plastic Pollution