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Break Free From Plastic movement urges incoming Biden administration, Congress to reduce plastic pollution

For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON -- Urging Congress to invest $1.3 billion to reduce plastic production, use and disposal, over 250 environmental groups, alongside U.S. PIRG, sent a thirteen key recommendations today to the 117th Congress outlining strategies on how to reduce plastic pollution through future legislative spending packages. 

The United States produces the most plastic waste per capita of any country in the world. To combat the plastic pollution crisis, U.S. PIRG and other members of the Break Free From Plastic movement are calling on lawmakers to reduce plastic production and consumption, stopping pollution before it starts. 

“Our communities, wildlands and waterways are drowning in waste and harmful chemicals caused by out-of-control plastic pollution. These recommendations for future legislation spending present a great path forward for President Joe Biden and the new Congress to create opportunities for reusable alternatives and replace our rampant use of single-use plastic,” said Haley Clinton, Zero Waste Program associate at U.S. PIRG. 

The recommendations include: $150 million for public facilities, education centers and protected areas to shift to reusable products; $6 million to eliminate all single-use plastics at national parks and install water refill stations; and $1 million to reduce single-use plastic in the Capitol and legislative offices; among many other proposals. Some of these recommendations add to other zero waste infrastructure policies outlined in U.S. PIRG’s Blueprint for America report released in November.

Emphasizing plastic reduction, the group recommends against  “downstream” solutions such as the conversion of plastic to fossil fuels and other downcycling technologies that would not solve the pollution crisis.

“Much of the federal legislation that’s discussed to address the plastic pollution crisis is based on solutions like litter clean-up,” Clinton said. “However, we’ll never be able to recycle our way out of this crisis, and that’s why we need funding for programs that actually replace our use of single-use plastic products with better, reusable alternatives.”

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