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Plastics Excise Tax Is a Regressive Tax Increase on Everything

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Matthew Kastner
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CEOs Send Letter to Congress Urging Removal of Proposed Tax in Reconciliation Bill

WASHINGTON (September 14, 2021) – Yesterday 38 CEOs representing America’s plastic makers and the plastics value chain sent a letter to House and Senate leadership urging Congress to drop a proposed excise tax of $.20 per pound on the sale of virgin plastic. The proposed tax is intended to help pay for the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill currently making its way through Congress.

The letter highlights that this tax is regressive, levying an estimated $120 billion in increased costs on consumers by escalating the cost of plastic materials by up to 26%. The tax would harm those families least able to afford higher prices on all sorts of essential products – a group of Americans President Joe Biden has pledged not to increase taxes on. Further, it would incentivize importing finished plastic products from China to the disadvantage of American manufacturers. Despite the bill’s intent to address issues like climate change, the tax would incentivize the use of alternative materials to plastic, many of which have been found to result in far greater greenhouse gas emissions over their lifecycles.

Also troubling is that despite the financial burden on Americans, the proposed excise tax would do nothing to meaningfully curb plastic waste as the funds are anticipated to be used to cover various government expenditures unrelated to plastic waste.

Chris Jahn, American Chemistry Council President & CEO
There is a way to ‘build back better, achieving the goals of the Administration, without hitting consumers in the wallet; opening the door further to China; and jeopardizing our national priorities like addressing climate change.

America’s plastic makers urge Congress to take action to address plastic waste and have proposed 5 Actions for Sustainable Change that will jumpstart a circular economy for plastics. America’s Plastics Makers have called on Congress to require all plastic packaging to include at least 30% recycled plastic by 2030, and establish an American-designed producer responsibility system for packaging that will help increase recycling infrastructure, education, and outreach for all materials, including plastics. “We look forward to engaging with members of Congress and the administration to discuss ways to forestall this misguided and far-reaching action and to promote American manufacturing instead of damaging it,” Jahn added.

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the multibillion-dollar business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products, technologies and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health, safety and security performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy addressing major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. ACC members and chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development, and are advancing products, processes and technologies to address climate change, enhance air and water quality, and progress toward a more sustainable, circular economy.

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