EPS-IA Packaging Legislation 2021

Recent news coming from the EPS Industry Alliance (EPS-IA) has provided updates concerning a potential federal ban on EPS Shipping Containers. In response, they have also included a plan of action to oppose EPS bans. 

Federal Ban on EPS Shipping Containers

The 2021 Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act was officially reintroduced on March 29th, earning significant media coverage and vocal support from NGOs. EPS-IA secured three meetings with the bill sponsors, Senator Merkley (D-OR) and Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), to dissuade them from banning polystyrene, providing numerous examples of EPS circularity and a factual accounting of its environmental profile. Nonetheless, the bill was introduced with more stringent requirements for an exemption on EPS pharmaceutical cold-chain packaging. All other EPS transport packaging is slated for a nationwide ban effective January 2, 2023.

In follow up, EPS-IA has issued a letter to Senator Merkley and Congressman Lowenthal protesting this mandate, providing detailed information regarding unintended consequences for the environment and the anticipated impact on the EPS industry supply chain and its customers. Our letter requests a carve-out for EPS transport packaging – referred to as shipping containers in the bill language – and requests a follow up meeting within the next two weeks. 

U.S. Congressional Strategy & Next Steps

EPS-IA has launched a member grassroots campaign with a goal of 500 letters to congress cautioning against an EPS ban. Simultaneously, EPS-IA’s consulting firm, Squire Patton Boggs is leading our efforts to connect with the Senate Finance Committee and House Energy & Commerce Committee to offer compelling arguments against the EPS ban provisions in the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act. This will include consecutive message points on EPS sustainability, EPS industry demographics and the importance of the EPS industry contribution to the U.S. economy, and the essential role of EPS in the COVID-19 vaccine distribution. If Merkley and Lowenthal agree to remove EPS shipping containers from their bill, we will reevaluate the intensity of this outreach effort. 

Two other federal bills were introduced on Capitol Hill this month that show greater potential for industry support. The Clean Future Act and Plastic Waste Reduction & Recycling Research Act both include elements that the EPS industry would potentially support.

Plymouth Foam (PF) actively supports the EPS-IA’s response and is reaching out to our congressmen and state representatives. Write your Congressman today to caution against an EPS ban!