Conflicts in Chemistry: The Case of Plastics

Industry

Industry

Thin plastic film functions as packaging for many products, offering protection and preservation.

Thin plastic film functions as packaging for many products, offering protection and preservation.

You represent the plastics industry – those companies that make and sell plastics. You oppose regulation of plastics as an unfair and unnecessary burden on producers that underestimates the value of plastics. You believe that problems with plastics should be addressed through innovation and increased recycling, not government regulation.

Read the Original Regulation and your group’s Goals and Recommendations for the final regulation, and use them to prepare answers to the following questions, which the Regulators will ask during the Hearing:

1.    Recycling in the United States is currently a function of municipal governments. Who should be responsible for plastic waste? Should the producers of plastics bear more of a burden than the consumers? What is the role of individual responsibility in addressing the matter of plastic waste?

2.    Only a small percentage of plastic waste in the United States is recovered for recycling, meaning most plastic trash goes into landfills. What is the best way to reduce the amount of plastic entering the waste stream? Is curbside recycling the best option? Do we need to develop new methods of recycling and fuel recovery? Or is reducing plastic production and consumption the best way to reduce waste?

3.    The goal of this hearing is to create a federal regulation that will effectively address concerns about plastics. What issues would governmental regulation of plastics most effectively address? What can be accomplished without governmental regulation that would improve the way we use and dispose of plastics? What new problems might result from these regulations?

4.    What historical cases, examples, or evidence provide useful lessons about the successes or failures of addressing the impact and implications of our uses of plastics?

5.    Do the problems caused by our use of plastics outweigh the benefits that they provide?

Pro−Plastic Bag Advocate

A lawyer who has supported many environmental causes, fought many difficult battles, and firmly believes plastic bags cause less harm than their alternatives.

Representative of Plastics Manufacturers 

A chemist who began by developing new applications for polymers, then moved into sales and marketing before assuming a corporate position to promote the plastics industry.

Toxicologist

A scientist who studies endocrine disruption in human and animal populations and finds that the scientific evidence that endocrine disruptors have adversely affected human populations is weak.

American Chemistry Council Representative 

A lobbyist combining a love of science with years of experience in corporate law to protect the legal interests of the plastics industry.

Representative of Coca-Cola

The head of marketing and communication for Coca-Cola’s sustainability initiatives who is proud of the changes these initiatives have brought about.

Society for the Plastics Industry Lobbyist 

A chemist and a lawyer with the Society for the Plastics Industry who has a long history working to protect the rights of the industry.