Conflicts in Chemistry: The Case of Plastics

Invention-Recommendations

Invention-Recommendations

 

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Recommendations for the Regulation of Plastic Waste

Invention Group

 

Prepared in Advance of the Environmental Protection Agency Hearing

 

Main Concerns of the Invention Group:

  • Public concerns over waste and toxicity overshadow the many useful benefits of plastics. Plastics are lighter, less expensive, and more environmentally friendly than many plastic alternatives.

  • Government regulation that ignores the benefits of plastics may jeopardize innovation and deprive the public of many low-cost enhancements to quality of life.

  • Government regulation should recognize the value of plastics in such important fields as medicine, information technology, and defense by exempting these plastics from regulation.

Recommendations Based on Invention Group Concerns:

  • Any regulation in the areas of recovery and recycling of plastics should apply only to one-use, disposable plastics, such as plastic packaging.

  • Plastics designed for extended use, which cannot be described as one-use or packaging (e.g., plastic construction materials, polymer fibers in clothing, and electronic casings), should be fully exempt from regulation.

  • One-use, disposable plastics used for critical purposes, including medicine, defense, and communications, should be fully exempt from regulation. Limiting production of these products would have negative consequences on health, safety, and the economy.

  • Financial incentives will be made available to producers who choose to invest in the development of new recycling infrastructure or the improvement of existing recycling systems and to producers who voluntarily reduce plastic production.

  • Financial incentives will be made available to producers who invest in the development of biodegradable plastics.

  • The Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for educating the public about regulatory exemptions for extended-use plastics and for those used for medical, defense, or communication purposes. These education programs will emphasize the value of plastics in our society and the environmental benefits they offer over alternatives.

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