The U.S. Senate has approved the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act, legislation the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) supports, that would improve domestic infrastructure to reduce marine debris, further research into detection and clean-up, and enhance international cooperation to solve the problem.
The bill, which passed the Senate yesterday, awaits presidential signature to become federal law, after passing the House of Representatives earlier this year.
“Our industry is proud to work with federal legislators to protect the environment,” said Tony Radoszewski, President and CEO of PLASTICS. “We've worked years to help pass the original Save Our Seas Act including this latest improvement, and we look forward to more cooperation.”
“Plastics help people live longer, healthier lives, providing good jobs and economic growth. Plastics conserve resources,” he said. “Properly managing all waste, not only plastic, will allow people around the world to continue to enjoy its benefits.”
PLASTICS recently hosted Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), bipartisan cosponsors of Save Our Seas 2.0, at its Global Plastics Summit, where they discussed the importance of public-private partnership with PLASTICS' Vice President of Government Affairs Matt Seaholm.
“It's a big issue for Alaska, having more coastline than the lower 48 combined, and it's important for our environment, it's important for our economy, it's important for our tourism sector. But it's also the right thing to do,” said Sen. Sullivan.
Sen. Whitehouse added, “I’ve spent a good deal of my life in, on, and around the oceans, and I see the oceans as just an extraordinary global resource…We can’t just be takers from the ocean, we have to be caretakers.”
PLASTICS supports a variety of federal legislation to educate consumers about the value of plastic, including legislation that promotes reusing, repurposing and recycling this valuable material. The association leads other marine debris initiatives, such as Operation Clean Sweep® and the Global Plastics Alliance. Its New End Market Opportunities (NEMO) projects demonstrate practical end-of-life applications for plastic packaging in asphalt, as well as for auto parts.
“Now more than ever, we are witnessing the need for plastic gloves, face masks, as well as drug packaging and medical devices to combat the pandemic,” said Radoszewski. “Plastic is especially important to health and nutrition in developing countries. Improving international collection and recycling is key.”
Last month, complementing elements of the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act, the United States International Development Finance Corporation announced funding for a $2.5 billion Ocean Plastics Initiative to incentivize waste management infrastructure investments in developing countries.
A Discussion with Senators Sullivan and Whitehouse: 2020 Global Plastics Summit