10 • 27 • 2021
The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act, A Vision for the Future!
Last March, the federal Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act (BFFPPA) was reintroduced (S. 984/ H.R 2238) by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA). The Surfrider Foundation has been closely involved with BFFPPA since its inception and continues to advocate for this critical legislation.
The priorities that Surfrider focused on for the reintroduced bill included pushing for incentivizing reuse/refill models, strengthening the definition of reusable bags, addressing toxics more broadly, and closing the loophole for plastic waste exports. All of these priorities led by Surfrider were addressed in the reintroduced bill.
What makes the BFFPPA unique is that it addresses plastic pollution across its lifecycle, from extraction and manufacture to distribution and the point of sale, and disposal and recycling — and modeled after policies that have been proven effective at local and state levels.
One major theme of the BFFPPA is source reduction of plastic bags, foam foodware, plastic straws, plastic utensils, and plastic produce stickers. Another major part of the bill is Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), which shifts the cost of recycling, disposal, and cleanup from taxpayers and cities — to the manufacturers of packaging. This incentivizes manufacturers to make more sustainable packaging and, ideally, shift to reuse and refill systems.