Congressman Panetta Cosponsors Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act

February 14, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) announced that he cosponsored the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act, legislation that would phase out unnecessary single-use plastic products, hold corporations accountable for wasteful products, reduce wasteful packaging, and reform our broken waste and recycling collection system. Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-CA-47) and Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA-05) introduced the bill in the House of Representatives, and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

"We have seen firsthand the harm that plastics can do to our oceans.  What we also are experiencing is the damage that plastics can do to our food supply and its negative impact on the climate crisis. Local communities have taken the necessary steps to reduce unnecessary plastic products.  But now it is time for the federal government to demonstrate leadership and address this problem," said Congressman Panetta.  "The Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act sets out a marker to show the need to rein in waste, improve recycling, decrease harmful emissions, and help stop plastics from ending up in our oceans.  The goals of the legislation are bold, but I look forward to having serious discussions with all sides in order to fight for lasting solutions."

The Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act will provide necessary national leadership to reduce the amount of wasteful plastic and reform our broken waste and recycling collection system. The bill will:

  • Require big corporations take responsibility for their pollution, requiring producers of plastic products to design, manage, and finance waste and recycling programs.
  • Spur innovation, incentivizing big corporations to make reusable products and items that can actually be recycled.
  • Create a nationwide beverage container refund program, which is successful at the state level.
  • Reduce and ban certain single-use plastic products that are not recyclable.
  • Establish minimum recycled content requirements for beverage containers, packaging, and food-service products, while standardizing recycling and composting labeling.
  • Spur massive investments in U.S. domestic recycling and composting infrastructure, while pressing pause on new plastic facilities until critical environment and health protections are put in place. 

The full text of the bill can be found here. A summary and background materials can be found here.