Conflicts in Chemistry: The Case of Plastics

Sustainability-Recommendations

Sustainability-Recommendations

 

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Recommendations for the Regulation of Plastic Waste

Sustainability Group

 

Prepared in Advance of the Environmental Protection Agency Hearing

 

Main Concerns of the Sustainability Group:

  • Government regulation has the potential to interfere with the development of biodegradable plastics, better recycling systems, and more efficient ways to dispose of plastics.

  • The problems of plastics can be solved through innovation and scientific advancement in an open market, not through government regulations.

  • Instead of imposing restrictions and limits, government should provide financial support and incentives to innovators who are solving the problems of plastics.

Recommendations Based on Sustainability Group Concerns:

  • Biodegradable plastics should be exempt from this regulation. Because such plastics do not persist in the environment, they are of less concern.

  • Requirements for recovery and recycling should apply only to one-use, disposable plastics, such as plastic packaging.

  • The government should offer financial incentives for producers engaged in the development and marketing of biodegradable plastics to encourage the industry’s growth.

  • The government should offer financial incentives for producers engaged in the improvement of recycling infrastructure and in the expanding markets for materials made of recycled plastics.

  • The government and producers must partner to develop recycling and incineration practices applicable to as many types of plastic as possible to significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste entering the waste stream.

  • Producers should be encouraged to reduce the amount of virgin plastic material through the manufacture of lighter, stronger plastics and the development of more efficient packaging techniques.

  • Producers must prioritize methods of natural degradation either through the production of biodegradable plastics or by bioengineering organisms that break down traditional polymers.

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