Letter: EPR Bill to Reduce Plastic Pollution


I care about the environment and want to protect it from pollution of all kinds. Plastic pollution is a major concern that has reached crisis level. I am writing to ask you to support EPR house bill HF 4132 and senate bill SF 4518. 

Researchers are alarmed by plastic pollution and report concerns for the harm it is doing to our health, the environment and how it is contributing to climate change. The microplastics and chemical additives we breath in and ingest are causing cancer, hormonal disruption, reproductive disorders, autoimmune diseases, chronic inflammation, obesity and fetal and child neurological damage. Microplastics and the toxic chemical additives are killing 100 million wildlife and sea creatures as well as soil microbes. A recent report confirmed that the chain of production of plastic is contributing to climate change. The U.S. plastics industry releases at least 232 million tons of CO2e gas emissions per year which is equivalent to the emissions from 116 average-sized (500-megawatt) coal-fired power plants and the plastic industry is on track to exceed coal-fired power emissions by 2030. This is why a bill that will decrease the amount of single use plastic and address plastic pollution is urgent.

This bill creates an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program for packaging. It requires

environmental design standards, with a focus on protecting the environment and public health by reducing plastic packaging, toxic chemicals and demands on natural resources. This bill covers essentially all packaging waste generated by food service, bottled beverages, consumer products, and transportation of goods, and collected from residential, industrial, commercial, and institutional sources.

Currently Producers have little incentive to reduce packaging, remove toxic chemicals from

packaging, or design packaging with recyclability in mind, in part because they have no legal

responsibility to manage the costs or logistics of packaging disposal. Local governments are oftentimes responsible for the burdensome task of recycling and disposing of

post-consumer waste, while having little control over potential sources of such waste,

particularly packaging waste, that enter their jurisdictions. This bill addresses the unsustainability of excessive packaging waste. 

The United States is the largest generator of plastic waste. Microplastics never completely break down so they accumulate in our environment. As of 2021, 15 million metric tons of plastic waste washes into the ocean each year. Without actions taken at every level of government that number is predicted to triple by the year 2050. Landfills are primarily located in low-income communities and communities of color. Reducing packaging waste will lessen this disproportionate burden and help the our state take steps towards environmental justice.

It is imperative that we pass the EPR bill HF 4132, SF 4518 and reduce plastic packaging. The best packaging is that which local governments never have to manage – compostable, reusable or refillable.

Thank you,