Overregulating the chemistry industry jeopardizes innovation, jobs, and economic growth. Learn more.

  • Read time: 3 minutes
  • Press Release

Proposed Tax on Plastic Materials Would Be a Step Backward for Environment and Inflation

Matthew Kastner

WASHINGTON, DC (September 21, 2023) — The American Chemistry Council (ACC) today responded to the introduction of the REDUCE Act. The following statement may be attributed to Ross Eisenberg, president of America’s Plastic Makers. 

  “America’s plastic makers share Congress’ concerns about the serious problem of mismanaged plastic waste but imposing a 20 cent per pound tax on virgin plastic materials would harm consumers, be a step backward in the fight against climate change, and hinder U.S. efforts to rein in inflation.  When this tax was introduced in 2021, we said it was the wrong approach. It’s still the wrong approach.

“Our nation needs modern plastic materials to minimize food waste, improve safety, and protect valuable products Americans depend on every day. The tax would incentivize a switch to alternative materials, many of which create significantly more lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions. And, unwittingly, it would harm U.S. manufacturing by favoring imported plastic products coming mainly from China, where environmental practices and protections are not as robust as the U.S. 

“Everyday Americans would bear the brunt of the tax. The bill is misguided and would cost our nation high-tech, high-paying American jobs. It also would do little to create the systems needed to keep used plastics in our economy and out of our environment.

“We instead encourage Congress to focus on bipartisan bills like the Recycling and Composting Accountability Act, the Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act, and the upcoming Save Our Seas Act 3.0, which is being developed by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK).   

“We have called on Congress to take 5 Actions to accelerate a circular economy, such as requiring all plastic packaging to include at least 30% recycled plastic by 2030 through a national recycled plastics standard. We’ve 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 to accelerate the circular economy and help end plastic waste.”  

American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Division

The American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Division represents America’s Plastic MakersSM and the half million+ scientists, engineers, technicians, and other innovators who make plastics for many essential and lifesaving products that are vital to modern life. America’s Plastic Makers continue to embrace change. We’re linking innovation with sustainability, deploying next generation technologies to make plastics lighter, stronger, more efficient and more recyclable, so we can meet our goal for 100% of U.S. plastic packaging to be reused, recycled, or recovered by 2040. We’re making sustainable change to help build a cleaner, safer, more sustainable future for generations to come. 

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council’s mission is to advocate for the people, policy, and products of chemistry that make the United States the global leader in innovation and manufacturing. To achieve this, we: Champion science-based policy solutions across all levels of government; Drive continuous performance improvement to protect employees and communities through Responsible Care®; Foster the development of sustainability practices throughout ACC member companies; and Communicate authentically with communities about challenges and solutions for a safer, healthier and more sustainable way of life. Our vision is a world made better by chemistry, where people live happier, healthier, and more prosperous lives, safely and sustainably—for generations to come.