Sign the petition: Tell Congress producers must take responsibility for recycling, not taxpayers

Only 9% of plastic products are recycled. That’s because companies are moving away from traditional recyclable materials to cheaper options. At the same time, the recycling industry is going through a rapid downturn since China and other countries have refused the import of recyclable materials from the United States. These factors lead to increased costs for local governments, putting the burden on taxpayers since taxpayers bear the primary risk for the devaluation of recyclable materials.

Although consumers “choose” to buy plastic products, it’s companies that decide what packaging to put on the market in the first place. The high prevalence of plastic products in daily life makes avoiding it an extreme inconvenience. From toothpaste to peanut butter jars to your car, it’s near impossible to live a plastic-free life. Plastics are indispensable materials in many industry sectors, such as health, agriculture, construction, and packaging.

Extended producer responsibility (EPR) shifts the burden for the treatment and disposal of packaging materials to producers instead of consumers. This shift creates sustainable funding for recycling and promotes innovation by offering financial incentives for producers to design packaging materials to be recyclable, conserve materials, and incorporate recycled content.

Producer-funded systems are often better funded and managed, making them more resilient to downticks in the recycling industry market. Shifting recycling costs creates a more balanced circular economy.

The United States is the only developed country not to have established EPR laws because trade associations have effectively blocked all legislation. Maine was the first state to pass an EPR law, and now it’s time for the rest of the country to catch up.

Sign the petition: Tell Congress to pass a federal EPR law!
Participating Organizations
Daily Kos
Friends of the Earth Action