Subtle Victories for the Advocate

nes rally kate G In: Subtle Victories for the Advocate | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Kate Gallagher of Melrose is serious about plastic misuse. Photo by Jim Tatum

 

Advocacy requires patience and a solid core of optimism in order for the volunteers to continue in the face of constant and repeated failures, criticism and disregard.  Victories are few and may be subtle, as described in the article below, but however slight, they are always welcome.
So at the very least they are talking about it.

Read the  complete article here at this link.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
[email protected]
– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum


Federal Bill Seeks to Make Companies Responsible for Plastic Waste

The legislation, to be introduced Tuesday, has little chance of becoming a law, but the effort shows the increased influence of environmental groups in taking on recycling issues.

Michael Corkery

By

Recycle that plastic bottle. Drink from a reusable water bottle. Stop eating from foam takeout containers.

Solutions to the plastic waste problem are often described in terms of what consumers can do to help. But federal legislation, set to be introduced by two Democrats in Congress on Tuesday, would shift responsibility to the industries producing the plastic encircling the globe.

The bill, being introduced by Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico and Representative Alan Lowenthal of California, is one of the most aggressive, sweeping attempts to hold the plastics industry, beverage makers and other companies financially responsible for dealing with the waste they create.

The so-called Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act is a long shot, with no Republican co-sponsors and several provisions that seem sure to be nonstarters in an election year. But the legislative effort at the federal level, even if a politically unrealistic one, shows the growing sway of environmental groups that have pushed to stem the flow of plastic waste into the ocean.

The legislation includes measures that the sponsors argue will increase the nation’s meager recycling rates, such as a national “bottle bill” that would incentivize people to return their empty soda and water bottles by providing a 10 cent refund for each bottle. It would also require companies that produce and sell food service and plastic packaging to pay for the waste collection, a burden that now falls primarily on taxpayers.

“The plastics pollution crisis has reached a tipping point and the American people are fed up,” Mr. Udall said in a conference call with reporters on Monday.

The bill calls for a pause on creating new plastic producing plants, which have been a boon for the oil and gas industry and a job generator in states like Texas, Louisiana and Pennsylvania.

As the supply of oil and gas swells but global demand shows signs of leveling off, plastic production is one of the fossil fuel industry’s most promising areas of growth. That dynamic is causing concern about increased greenhouse emissions and poor air quality caused by the new petrochemical plants, but it also means the oil and gas industry is poised to fight vigorously to defend its expansion.

There are some provisions in the bill that could find broader support, like mandating standardized labels on recycling and composting bins to help people more effectively sort their used containers.

For decades, the plastics industry has encouraged consumers to recycle their empty containers by sponsoring marketing campaigns and school competitions. But in reality, the vast majority of used plastic has been ending up landfills, incinerators or shipped to other nations, where its fate is far from clear. An increasing number of municipalities have stopped accepting most plastics to be recycled because the cost of collection and sorting the material is not worth it.

“The public has been sold a bill of goods,” Mr. Lowenthal said on Monday. “Very little of what is called recyclable is actually recyclable.”

Michael Corkery is a business reporter who covers the retail industry and its impact on consumers, workers and the economy. He joined The Times in 2014 and was previously a reporter at the Wall Street Journal and the Providence Journal. @mcorkery5

A version of this article appears in print on , Section B, Page 8 of the New York edition with the headline: Plastics Bill Would Shift More Burden To Industry. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

1 Comment

  1. Hopefully the first of a new wave of perception. Plastics production must be severely curtailed, and disposal costs must be borne by the producers. Yes, this may have some negative macroeconomic effects, but the economy we have evolved is not sustainable in the natural world. Yet we continue to pass the cost and inconvenience of this damage down to our children and grandchildren without conscience.

Back to top
Skip to content