Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) delivered the opening statement and questioned witnesses during a Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee hearing on evaluating material alternatives for single-use plastics. In his remarks, Mullin, the Ranking Member of the Chemical Safety, Waste Management, Environmental Justice, and Regulatory Oversight Subcommittee, highlighted the importance of market-driven solutions— not overregulation to reduce plastic waste. Mullin argued that driving competition through innovation will allow private industry to tackle waste issues in a way that provides realistic and affordable solutions to both consumers and businesses.
Click here for a video of Mullin’s opening remarks.
Click here to watch Mullin’s witness Q&A.
Opening remarks as prepared:
Thank you, Chairman Merkley. I would like to start by thanking our witnesses for attending this hearing. We appreciate you taking the time to be with us today.
As everyone knows, plastic exists in almost every aspect of our day-to-day life. From consumer goods to automobile parts, and even building materials.
While improperly managed single-use plastics can contribute to our plastic waste issues, certain types of single-use plastics provide essential and invaluable uses, which we need to consider when discussing alternatives.
Notably, a few examples of these uses include blood bags and syringes to help modern healthcare remain affordable and insulated food packaging to maintain hygienic standards while reducing food waste.
These uses play a vital role in our society and if restricted, would have a detrimental impact on our daily lives.
This series of hearings has made it abundantly clear that banning plastic production is not a real solution.
Rather than wasting our time talking about banning plastic or mandating alternatives that consumers don’t want – we should be discussing real, market-driven solutions.
This includes state-of-the-art developments in advanced recycling.
Anyone serious about addressing plastic waste should support advanced recycling.
This promising suite of technologies can address plastic that cannot be recycled by traditional methods.
It has the potential to turn the whole concept of “single-use” on its head by converting previously unrecyclable plastic into valuable new commodities.
Let’s be clear – improving our recycling system is not the only solution – but it is without question a legitimate solution that warrants our attention.
Don’t just take my word for it.
Mr. Chairman, I’d like to ask for unanimous consent to enter into the record two studies: one from the Department of Energy and one from the National Academies of Sciences.
Both reports demonstrate the potential value of commercially scaled chemical recycling.
That’s why I’m very thankful to be joined today by Mr. Humberto Kravetz of GSF Upcycling, who traveled all the way from Spain to be here with us today.
GSF is an innovative chemical recycling company that can accept the most difficult-to-recycle plastics.
GSF’s facility can accept plastics ranging from single-use cutlery to sun-scarred fishing nets.
Mr. Kravetz is exactly the type of person we should listen to if we’re serious about addressing plastic waste.
Innovation – not misguided regulation – is the correct way forward.
I look forward to hearing from Mr. Kravetz on ways we can facilitate chemical recycling at commercial scale.
With that, I yield back my time.