Packaging waste has hit epidemic proportions in this country. It’s not rare to see individual oranges wrapped in plastic containers at local food stores. Plastic waste is growing by around 4% per year, while recycling rates are decreasing.
We used to ship excess plastic to China (which itself isn’t a great solution), but they’ve recently banned the importing of plastic waste. This is resulting in overflowing landfills and the shipment of waste plastic to countries that aren’t equipped to deal with it, so they respond mostly by dumping it into the ocean or other waterways.
We need to pass a national extended producer responsibility bill, or find a way to shift the costs of disposing of these materials onto the manufacturers. If they pass the cost on to the consumers, each of us can make an informed decision about whether we really want to pay for the amount of packaging that producers are currently using for their goods.
Problems to be Solved
- checkPackaging, and especially plastic packaging, generates costs that aren’t currently borne by either the manufacturers of the products or the consumers purchasing them. This removes the incentive to minimize wasteful packaging habits.
- checkWe don’t currently have the capacity to dispose of or recycle the amount of waste plastic (and other materials) generated in this country.
- We produce a lot of packaging waste in the US. Our recycling efforts are becoming less effective at the same time as demand for our waste products goes down. We should include the true cost of packaging to manufacturers so that we can improve best practices. Reusable containers are cool.
- checkReduce wasteful packaging practices
- checkReduce the amount of waste plastic generated in this country
As President I will...
- Direct the EPA to research and promote the best means of reducing wasteful packaging practices, with a focus on making manufacturers bear the true costs of their packaging.
- This can be modeled after recent bills in Indiana and Washington State.
- Work with Congress to pass a bill implementing the best practices as defined by the group.