Forty-eight Senators and House members urged the Environmental Protection Agency in a Feb. 9 letter to step up regulation around plastics, including by limiting chemical recycling and setting national targets for refillable packaging and reducing single-use plastics.
The group, led by Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., told EPA Administrator Michael Regan the agency should remove chemical recycling technologies from the National Recycling Strategy and build on reuse and plastics source reduction mandates in the SB-54 legislation California passed last year.
They also pointed to the Protecting Communities from Plastics Act, which they introduced in December, as a blueprint for executive action by President Joe Biden's administration.
"Many of the provisions of this bill can be implemented by EPA now, without further Congressional action," they said.
The letter comes one day after the American Chemistry Council said it expected new plastics legislation to be introduced in Congress soon that would be an "alternative framework" to legislation backed by the letter's authors, including the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act.
The Feb. 9 letter also wants EPA to impose additional financial requirements on plastics facilities seeking air and water permits and initiate a rulemaking under the Toxic Substances Control Act to understand human health impacts of the petrochemical industry.
It also urges EPA to develop a microplastics pilot program to test technologies for preventing their release to the environment and removing them from the environment.