Break Free From Plastic

Break Free From Plastic
September 3, 2020 Christina Mullin

#thebreakfreefromplastic Movement is a global movement envisioning a future free from plastic pollution. Since its launch in 2016, more than 8,000 organizations and individuals from across the world have joined the movement to demand massive reductions in single-use plastics and to push for lasting solutions to the plastic pollution crisis.

 Did you know that a bill was introduced last Spring by Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico and Representative Alan Lowenthal of California, 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 Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act was 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.

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The bill also called 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.

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 in 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.


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