Proposed fee on virgin plastic is a step in the right direction, but our leaders should go further

Beyond plastic

Aaron Colonnese

Former Content Creator, Editorial & Creative Team, The Public Interest Network

Americans could soon be seeing more plastic products made of recycled content — a small, but important, step toward moving our country beyond plastic.

On Aug. 11, U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) introduced the REDUCE Act, which would charge companies extra for using virgin plastic to make single-use products. While the legislation addresses some of the front-end environmental costs of plastic production, our elected officials must do more to take on the plastic waste that doesn’t get recycled and instead pollutes our environment for generations.

“This bill would encourage manufacturers to use more recycled plastic — and that’s good, because making new plastic is harmful and resource-intensive,” said Alex Truelove, PIRG’s Zero Waste campaign director. “But we can only recycle what we actually collect and divert from landfills. Plastic that’s littered or illegally dumped won’t be addressed by this bill, reminding us that the only way to truly tackle plastic pollution is to make and use less of the stuff in the first place.”

As PIRG urges Congress to pass the REDUCE Act, we’re also continuing to advocate for more comprehensive legislation, such as the federal Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act.

Read more.

Learn more about our campaigns to move our country beyond plastic.

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Photo: In our United States Against Plastic rally in April 2021, PIRG and Environment America went on a virtual road trip to discuss policies to combat the plastic pollution crisis. Credit: Staff

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Aaron Colonnese

Former Content Creator, Editorial & Creative Team, The Public Interest Network

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