Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act Includes Toxics Provisions

March 24, 2021

Eduardo Valenzuela

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) will join environmental advocates to discuss the reintroduction of the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act (BFFPPA). The Act would reduce plastic production, increase recycling rates, ban the use of certain single use plastics, encourage greater reuse, and require stronger regulations to protect frontline communities from toxic exposures. The BFFPPA would also require that many toxic substances be eliminated from materials that are recycled or composted, ban several classes of chemicals from plastic beverage containers, ban the use of polystyrene food containers, and encourage a switch to non-toxic reusables. 

In response, Safer States strategic advisor Renée Sharp issued the following statement:

“We need to get whole classes of harmful chemicals out of our foodware, beverage containers, and packaging and take action to limit toxic exposures for frontline communities. The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act provides a good starting point to begin to address these important issues.”  

“The Act will prevent the recycling and composting of packaging and foodware that contains PFAS, ortho-phthalates, bisphenols and other toxic chemicals. This policy will protect the health of people, wildlife and the environment and is sorely needed to ensure that we aren’t recycling harmful chemicals into new products. We don’t just need a circular economy, we need a clean circular economy ” 

“We are encouraged to see that false solutions—including incineration and what industry refers to as ‘chemical recycling’—won’t be counted as recycling. Importantly, the bill also recognizes the deep impacts of plastics manufacturing on surrounding communities and requires the Environmental Protection Agency to update regulations to better protect frontline communities from the impacts of plastic manufacturing and incineration.” 

“At the same time, the definition of toxic substances in the bill means that it will fall short of addressing key chemicals of concern in packaging and food-service products, and will also fail to adequately address harmful chemicals that impact wildlife. We also remain concerned that the bill is not well designed to tackle emerging chemicals of concern which is important since so many chemicals in our products remain untested.” 

The Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act will be reintroduced on Thursday, March 24th.

SAFER STATES

Safer States is a network of diverse environmental health coalitions and organizations in states across the country that share a bold and urgent vision to protect people and communities from toxic chemical threats. By harnessing place-based power, Safer States helps prevent harm to people and the environment caused by dangerous chemicals and creates innovative solutions that promote safer alternatives. Working directly with state-based advocacy organizations, Safer States provides support and strategic guidance to advocates as well as a platform for national collaboration and coordination.

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Stephanie Stohler, Communications Director

stephanie@saferstates.org 

 

“We need to get whole classes of harmful chemicals out of our foodware, beverage containers, and packaging and take action to limit toxic exposures for frontline communities. The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act provides a good starting point to begin to address these important issues.”

- Renee Sharp, Strategic Advisor