Plastics Industry Association Submits Comments, Disappointed with EPA Draft Strategy on Plastic Pollution

July 31, 2023

Washington, D.C. – The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) has submitted comments in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) request for public input on its Draft National Strategy to Prevent Plastic Pollution.

“The plastic industry appreciates the opportunity to submit comments to the EPA, however, we are disappointed with the agency’s draft strategy,” said PLASTICS’ President and CEO Matt Seaholm. “The EPA was directed by Congress in an overwhelmingly bi-partisan way to focus on post-consumer materials management and infrastructure, and instead the agency’s first stated objective in this strategy is to reduce the production of essential materials rather than address plastic waste.”

“The strategy is not focused on improving infrastructure, meanwhile, the plastics industry continues to invest billions of dollars in innovations to expand recycling capacity. Understanding and addressing the essential nature of plastics and tackling environmental challenges should not be mutually exclusive.”

“We don’t recycle enough, and we need to improve recycling rates in the U.S., period. PLASTICS remains eager to collaborate with the EPA, stakeholders and anyone who is willing to work towards our common goal of effective solutions to keep plastic waste out of the environment,” concluded Seaholm.

PLASTICS’ comments state that the EPA’s draft strategy should:

  • Recognize plastics serve a critical and sustainable role in modern life and have more than “some potential benefits.”
  • Acknowledge that innovations in product and material design have outpaced our infrastructure, negatively impacting our country’s ability to recycle at acceptable levels.
  • Revise a draft consistent with the bipartisan legislation that directed the EPA to develop a strategy to improve post-consumer materials management and infrastructure, not pre-production and product restrictions.
  • Foster circularity, not advocate production limits.
  • Hold all materials to the same standard and recognize that plastics often outperform other materials environmentally.
  • Revise the draft strategy following appropriate, thorough stakeholder engagement in a transparent process to develop practicable and achievable goals, gain and leverage greater collaboration necessary to achieve those goals.

The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) is the only organization that supports the entire plastics supply chain, including Equipment Suppliers, Material Suppliers, Processors, and Recyclers, representing over one million workers in our $468 billion U.S. industry. PLASTICS advances the priorities of our members who are dedicated to investing in technologies that improve capabilities and advances in recycling and sustainability and providing essential products that allow for the protection and safety of our lives. Since 1937, PLASTICS has been working to make its members, and the sixth largest U.S. manufacturing industry, more globally competitive while supporting circularity through educational initiatives, industry-leading insights and events, convening opportunities and policy advocacy, including the largest plastics trade show in the Americas, NPE2024: The Plastics Show.