Understanding the Unintended Consequences of the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act

Proposed legislation would curb critical innovation needed to improve America’s infrastructure and sustainability efforts

April 22, 2021

America’s Plastic Makers® agree: Reducing plastic waste is essential to creating a more sustainable future. But the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act (BFFPP) won’t help solve America’s plastic waste problem – far from it. Instead, this proposed legislation would stall efforts to address plastic waste in the environment and limit the essential role plastic plays in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If enacted, this bill would:

  • block advanced recycling technologies, which allow us to recycle significantly more types and greater amounts of plastic to create new products and provide well-paying jobs;
  • cost Americans nearly 1 million jobs by 2026 – many of them permanent losses;
  • cut economic output by more than $400 billion by 2026;
  • restrict availability of the very products needed to combat climate change, such as wind turbines, solar panels, and electric vehicles, as well as the lightweight plastics that make our cars and homes dramatically more energy efficient, which significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions;
  • result in shortages of essential materials used throughout the medical supply chain to fight the pandemic, including face masks, shields, medical gowns, syringes, and sanitary packaging; and
  • “pause” the production of plastic, resulting in supply chain disruptions that would impede America’s manufacturing resilience and our ability to bounce back economically after crises, such as the current pandemic.

Plastic in the environment is never acceptable. But after careful analysis of the legislation, we have concluded it won’t end plastic waste, but rather end the American plastics industry by restricting the production of modern and innovative plastic materials, domestic supply chains would be disrupted and force businesses to search for alternatives that may not be available.”
-Joshua Baca
Vice President of the Plastics Division, American Chemistry Council