Advocates call for NC lawmakers to stop plastic pollution

On Wednesday, NCPIRG hosted state partners for the first ever Plastic Waste Reduction Lobby Day.

Staff | TPIN
Attendees of the North Carolina Plastic Waste Reduction Lobby Day gather outside the NC General Assembly Building.
Katie Craig

Former State Director, NCPIRG

Individuals from all corners of the state came to Raleigh to call on lawmakers to tackle our plastic pollution problem as part of the first ever North Carolina Plastic Waste Reduction Lobby Day on Wednesday. 

The North Carolina Plastic Waste Reduction Coalition is a group of over 100 organizations and individuals working to reduce plastic pollution and its impacts in our state through research, organizing, education, and advocacy. The lobby day, hosted by NCPIRG and the NC Conservation Network, resulted in over 20 meetings and drop-ins with state elected officials to educate them about our plastic waste problem and encourage them to act.

I enjoyed participating in the NC Plastic Waste Reduction Lobby Day because I felt empowered that I could meet with elected officials and inform them about topics I am passionate about… Through this opportunity I felt like I was able to use my voice and make change. Shriya Nanugonda
Volunteer on her first time lobbying

Partners reminded our elected officials that nothing we use for just a few minutes should pollute our planet and threaten our health for hundreds of years, especially when we already have a clear and simple solution: use less plastics starting by eliminating the worst types like polystyrene (aka styrofoam) and single-use plastic items. 

Specifically, the lobby day highlighted 3 key policies introduced this year that would help tackle our plastic pollution problem:

HB28 Managing Environmental Waste Act. Primary Sponsor: Rep. Harry Warren (R) 

The goal of this bill is to follow the lead of corporations across North Carolina and the U.S. and make a commitment to reduce plastic use in our own state agencies. If passed, this bill would implement reporting requirements for state agencies, launch a pilot program through the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to reduce plastic foodware, and direct a study by the Collaboratory to further analyze the plastic issue and potential solutions for our state.  

H279 Break Free From Plastic & Forever Chemicals- Primary Sponsor: Rep. Pricey Harrison (D)

The goal of this bill is to implement a producer responsibility program for both plastic and PFAS. A producer responsibility policy approach would ensure that the creators of plastic are also responsible for the end-of-life of their products. Coca-Cola, Nestle, and other major brands within the plastic packaging industry have supported similar policies.

H679 Customer Opt-in for Single-Use Foodware Act- Primary Sponsor: Rep. Julie Von Haefen (D)

The goal of this bill is to help consumers avoid unnecessary single-use plastics by requiring restaurants to provide single-use foodware items such as utensils and condiments on an opt-in basis, rather than customers receiving such items as the default. This simple change would help shift consumer habits and reduce single use plastics consumption, all while potentially saving businesses money by ensuring they don’t give away more foodware items than are truly needed. 

Overall, we accomplished a lot in one day and we look forward to continuing to engage community partners and lawmakers to move us towards a cleaner, healthier, and plastic free future. 

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Katie Craig

Former State Director, NCPIRG