Two members of Congress launched a task force Dec. 10 to explore plastics recycling issues, another sign of growing interest around plastics environmental issues on Capitol Hill.
A statement from Rep. Haley Stevens, D-Mich., announcing the Congressional Plastics Solutions Task Force, said they plan to work with state and local officials and industry representatives to boost investment and education around recycling technologies and recovery.
Stevens said the group will hold a series of meetings to look at challenges such as "insufficient strategies for recycling and waste management and the lack of robust secondary markets for plastics" and how that causes problems for local governments.
Stevens chairs the House Science Committee's subcommittee on research and technology, and her statement said the task force would also look at the role technology can play to "reduce the impact of plastic on the environment and human health."
"Plastics have become fundamental to almost all aspects of our lives, from food storage to 3D printing technology, and have enabled us to make great technological advances," Stevens said. "With this progress, however, comes a cost. … We produce far more plastic than we can properly recycle, domestically and internationally. The extent of plastics pollution is becoming ever more apparent and more alarming."
The task force's initial members are Stevens and Rep. Kim Schrier, D-Wash. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., and Rep. Greg Murphy, R-N.C., also participated in the launch meeting but are not members.
The news release identified several goals for the group: highlight innovations around plastics generation and recovery; better understanding of domestic recycling infrastructure challenges; and building consensus among members of Congress around opportunities to address plastic waste.