WASHINGTON (September 9, 2021) – The American Chemistry Council today responded to discussions of an excise tax of 20 cents per pound on virgin plastics to help pay for the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill in Congress. The following statement may be attributed to Joshua Baca, ACC’s vice president of plastics:
“Plastic does not belong in our environment, and America’s plastic makers share the Senate’s concerns about this serious problem. Levying a 20 cent per pound consumer excise tax on virgin plastics will neither solve, nor begin to address the plastic waste issue.
“Unfortunately, adding an excise tax on certain plastics would punish Americans that rely on them in fuel efficient vehicles, energy saving home insulation, electronics, packaging, and much more, without creating the systems needed to end plastic waste. Revenue from the tax would fund various government programs unrelated to addressing the plastic waste problem in the proposed reconciliation bill, and further fuel inflation at a time when we can least afford it. The tax also could incentivize a switch to alternative materials that would result in significantly more lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than plastics. Lastly, it would favor imported plastic resins coming mostly from China, costing American jobs.
“To help end plastic waste, we established an ambitious goal for 100% of U.S. plastic packaging to be re-used, recycled or recovered by 2040. To get there, we need smart, comprehensive public policies that will lead to a circular economy, in which valuable materials such as plastics are reused rather than discarded.
“In July we called on Congress to take 5 Actions to accelerate a circular economy, including requiring all plastic packaging to include at least 30% recycled plastic by 2030 through a national recycled plastics standard. We also called for establishing an American-designed producer responsibility system for packaging to help raise funds to increase recycling infrastructure, collection and outreach for all materials, including plastics. The 5 Actions represent a comprehensive, national strategy to confront the challenges of plastic waste head on.
“We believe a national standard requiring all plastic packaging to include at least 30% recycled plastics within the decade is a much more feasible, market-driven approach to increasing recycling and reducing waste, without resorting to harmful taxes.
“We encourage Congress to take up the 5 Actions that would create comprehensive federal policies to accelerate the circular economy and help end plastic waste.”