If you buy a bottle of water from the vending machine, you may see a little recycling triangle on the bottom of it, but that doesn’t mean very much. The reality is that most plastics like these are never actually recycled, even when we put them in the right bins.
This means that most new plastic items are made from brand-new, non-recycled plastic, which is harming our planet. Fortunately, the U.S. Senate has a chance to change that with the REDUCE Act.
If passed, this bill would place a fee on the non-recycled plastic that companies use to make single-use products, like beverage containers and plastic bags.
Manufacturing our plastic problem
From the time you wake up until the time you go to bed, our country will have produced enough plastic waste to fill the largest football stadium in the country.
And when it comes to single-use plastic water bottles, those bottles are made from 98% new plastic — plastic that’s never been recycled. Since the 1950s, we’ve manufactured more than 8 billion tons of plastic, and we only recycle a tiny fraction of what’s produced.
That’s why we’re calling on the U.S. Senate to pass this bill.
How to REDUCE our plastic pollution
The process of producing and distributing all of this brand-new plastic worsens climate change, negatively impacts our public health, and pollutes our communities and environment. So what’s the solution?
To slow — and eventually stop — the production of new plastic, there needs to be a viable alternative, and that’s where the REDUCE Act comes in.
If passed, this bill would add a tax to all new plastics that become single-use plastic products. Recycled plastics wouldn’t face this tax, making it a more attractive option. That would give companies more incentive to recycle plastics or buy recycled materials, rather than sending that valuable material to landfills.
The bill would use money generated from the tax to create a Plastic Waste Reduction Fund, which will help bolster plastic waste management and recycling programs.
To get this bill passed and help move our country beyond plastic, we need your help. Tell your U.S. senators: Support the REDUCE Act.
Director, Environment Campaigns, PIRG
Matt oversees PIRG's toxics, transportation and zero waste campaigns and leads PIRG’s climate program to promote a cleaner, healthier future for all Americans. Matt lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with his wife, two daughters and chihuahua.