Evaluating Material Alternatives for Single-Use Plastics

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 26 Oct 2023 14:00:00 GMT

Subcommittee hearing on “Evaluating Material Alternatives for Single-Use Plastics”.

  • Marcus Eriksen, Ph.D., Co-Founder, Executive Director, The 5 Gyres Institute, Leap Lab
  • Erin Simon, Vice President, Plastic Waste + Business, World Wildlife Fund
  • Humberto Kravetz, Founder and CEO, GSF Upcycling

Examining Solutions to Address Beverage Container Waste

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 28 Sep 2023 14:00:00 GMT

Subcommittee hearing on plastics.


Solutions for Single-Use Waste: Expanding Refill and Reuse Infrastructure

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 27 Jul 2023 13:45:00 GMT

Subcommittee hearing on single-use waste. Part of a series of hearings on the plastics industry.

  • Dacie Meng, Policy and Institutions Senior Manager (North America), Ellen MacArthur Foundation
  • Clemence Schmid, General Manager, Loop Global
  • Tim Debus, President & CEO, Reusable Packaging Association

Impacts of Plastic Production and Disposal on Environmental Justice Communities

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 15 Jun 2023 14:00:00 GMT

On Thursday, June 15, 2023, at 10:00 AM ET, U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Chemical Safety, Waste Management, Environmental Justice, and Regulatory Oversight, will hold a hearing to examine the public health and environmental impacts of plastic production and disposal on environmental justice communities.

  • Angelle Bradford, Doctoral student in physiology and medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine, Volunteer, Sierra Club Delta Chapter
  • Sharon Lavigne, Founder, Rise St. James
  • Chris Tandazo, Director of Government Affairs, New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance
  • Kevin Sunday, Director of Government Affairs, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry
  • Donna Jackson, Director of Membership Development, Project 21 – National Center for Public Policy and Research

Petrochemicals to Waste: Examining the Lifecycle Environmental and Climate Effects of Plastic

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 30 Mar 2023 14:00:00 GMT

Hearing page

  • Arvind Ravikumar Ph.D., Research Associate Professor, Co-Director, Energy Emissions Modeling and Data Lab, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Chelsea M. Rochman Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Head of Operations & Science Programming and Application Lead, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, St. George
  • Hota GangaRao Ph.D., Ph.D, Wadsworth Professor and Director of Constructed Facilities Center, Wadsworth Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, West Virginia University

Examining the Impact of Plastic Use and Identifying Solutions for Reducing Plastic Waste

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 15 Dec 2022 15:00:00 GMT

Hearing page

When it comes to reducing waste, we were taught the three Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle; however, the reality for plastics is the three Bs: buried, burned, or borne out to sea,” said Sen. Merkley. “My Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act is a comprehensive plan to reduce plastic production, improve our recycling systems, and protect frontline communities. It’s not just enough for us to curb our own individual plastic use, we must take action at the federal and international level to solve this environmental and public health crisis.”

Recent polling shows that two-thirds of Americans believe that businesses that produce or use plastics in their products should pay for collecting, sorting, and recycling plastics; 86 percent of Americans support requiring new plastic to contain at least some recycled material; and 80 percent of Americans support phasing out certain non-recyclable plastics altogether.

The Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act — led by Sen. Merkley and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) — would reduce plastic production, increase recycling, and protect frontline communities from the burden of toxic emissions from plastic waste by changing the incentives of the industry. The bill would shift the burden of cleanup to the corporations that produced the plastics so they have financial motivation to end the burning and dumping; strengthening environmental justice protections; eliminating waste export loopholes; and extending across the nation existing laws that have been proven to work on the state and local level, among other steps.


New Green Democrats Are 'Rattling All The Cages' of the Sclerotic Senate

Posted by Wonk Room Tue, 10 Aug 2010 12:12:00 GMT

From the Wonk Room.

Democrats recently elected to the U.S. Senate have pressed their colleagues to ambitiously address climate and energy reform, and are frustrated by the lack of action. In a series of interviews with the Wonk Room at Netroots Nation, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) described the challenges of confronting climate pollution in the sclerotic legislative body, brought to a practical standstill by minority obstruction. They each discussed how the “new class” of 22 Democratic senators elected in the 2006 and 2008 waves (with independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont) have pressed for greater “political clarity” on climate by “rattling all the cages” in the Senate, alongside senior leaders such as Sen. John Kerry (D-MA).

Questioned by the Wonk Room why Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) shied away from introducing a comprehensive climate bill for full Senate consideration as energy crises pile up during the hottest summer ever recorded, the senators noted the ability of Republicans to thwart the will of the majority through the abuse of parliamentary procedures. They recognized Reid’s decision to try for quick action with a limited package in what little time is left during this Congress. However, they relished the chance to debate the promise of a green economy before the November elections, seeing the issue as a political winner:

CARDIN: I think we need political clarity. I wasn’t so concerned about having a vote before August. But we needed the clarity of the bill.

FRANKEN: If you want to rev up people, and say Democrats believe in this – one of the gaps they’re talking about is the enthusiasm gap. So maybe, politically, that is the right way to go. I think that Harry tends to want to get half a loaf or a third of a loaf rather than no loaf at all. This bill could be considered a first step. A lot of that is strategic, in terms of positioning yourself for the election. I was sort of of the school that we should go for pricing carbon, and if we lose, we lose. But that’s not what we did.

UDALL: Our two classes – the class of 2006 and the class of 2008 – I think have a real passion for all of the things you talked about and a desire to do something. We’re rattling all the cages in the committees we’re on, doing the things that we can do. But there is kind of an institutional thing going on there that slows everything down. There’s no doubt about that.

MERKLEY: This generational factor is why, if we can create a course that at least puts us on the right track for the next six to eight years, we will have with each subsequent election more and more folks coming in—based on what I hear at the university level, and graduate school level, and based on the difference between our class and the several classes ahead of us – there is just a growing commitment and passion to fighting this fight on climate and energy.

Watch Udall, Merkley, and Franken discuss their efforts to bring new passion to the climate and energy fight:

The Democrats described by Sen. Cardin as the “new class” overwhelmingly support strong green economy legislation, unlike the older generation peppered with climate peacocks. In fact, according to Politico, every one of the 12 Democrats elected in 2008 would vote for cloture on comprehensive climate and energy reform. Of the ten Democrats elected in 2006, only Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) make polluter-friendly arguments against clean energy reform.

“This is going to be a generational battle,” Merkley explained. “We’re going to have keep working and pushing because even our most optimistic bill has fairly weak goals for 2020. We’re going to have to be a lot more aggressive between 2020 and 2050 if we’re going to address carbon dioxide.”

“We can’t give up,” Cardin said during his interview, “because the stakes are too high for our country.”