Support plastic legislation

Published 5:17 pm Tuesday, August 4, 2020

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To the editor:

Re: Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act — Senate Bill #3263 and House Bill #5845

Fellow citizens of Suffolk, I am requesting your assistance in supporting the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act [S.3263 in the Senate/H.R. 5845 in the House], introduced in February 2020, and co-sponsored by Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA-11). The passing of this bill would require that producers of products creating plastic waste take responsibility for collecting and recycling materials, among several important measures aimed at reducing plastic pollution. This bill would require a nationwide 10-cent beverage container refund on returned containers, regardless of material. It will require source reduction and phase out certain polluting products, and initiate a carryout bag fee for single-use plastic bags. It would require product producers to have a minimum recycled content amount for all goods produced. It would support recycling and composting in our communities. It provides additional accountability for plastic tobacco filters, e-cigarettes and derelict fishing gear (for commercial use). It would prevent plastic waste from being shipped to developing countries that cannot manage such materials. This bill will protect existing state actions, and place a temporary pause on new plastics facilities.

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Action on this bill appears to have stalled in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, as an active environmentalist and Registered Nurse, I believe that now more than ever we need to take measures that will end the health threats of pollution from petrochemical plants on communities and task federal agencies to develop comprehensive plans to address plastic pollution in our waterways. I care deeply about the environment and our communities affected by plastic pollution, and this bill works to reduce non-recyclable plastic items and encourage the recovery efforts and corporate accountability of recyclable plastic materials. This is a historical effort that will spur innovation and investments in the United States’ domestic recycling and composting infrastructure. Please actively support this bill by contacting our senators and representatives and urging them to co-sponsor this bill. You can call the congressional switchboard (202) 224-3121 to be connected with their offices, or contact them by the information below:

Congressman Donald McEachin
131 N. Saratoga St. Ste. B
Suffolk, VA 23434
(757) 942-6050
Senator Tim Kaine
919 E. Main St. Ste. 970
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 771-2221
Senator Mark Warner
101 W. Main St. Ste. 7771
Norfolk, VA 23510
(757) 441-3079
Thank you for taking action for the health of our communities and planet!

Leslie Jacobs