Washington, D.C. – On Thursday, July 27 at 9:45 am Eastern, Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley will chair a subcommittee hearing to identify pathways to expand refill and reuse infrastructure in an effort to reduce single-use waste. This hearing is the next in a series of hearings Merkley is holding in the Subcommittee on Chemical Safety, Waste Management, Environmental Justice, and Regulatory Oversight that will investigate plastic production and pollution and its effects on human health, the climate, and the environment; and explore solutions to reduce waste.
Refill and reuse programs allow consumers, retailers, and manufactures to reduce single-use waste through refilling durable containers. It can take many forms, including refilling at home, refilling on the go, returning packaging that can be cleaned and used again, or a deposit system where consumers receive a refund when they return containers. When implemented correctly, refill and reuse programs hold the opportunity to reduce single-use packaging and increase convenience for customers.
“It used to be that the milk man would deliver your milk, you’d drink it, then you’d leave the empty bottles for him to take away the next time he made a delivery. That old idea is new again,” said Sen. Merkley, who is chairing a series of hearings investigating plastic production and disposal. “With reusable packaging, consumers have the opportunity to drastically reduce the use of single-use—oftentimes plastic—packaging.”
Thursday’s hearing on refill and reuse infrastructure will feature testimony from experts in the circular economy and those leading the future on refill and reuse infrastructure. Witness include: Dacie Meng, Policy and Institutions Senior Manager at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation; Clemence Schmid, General Manager at Loop Global; and Tim Debus, President & CEO of the Reusable Packaging Association.
Earlier this month, Merkley led a bicameral resolution designating July as Plastic Pollution Action Month. The resolution spotlights the dangers plastic pollution poses to both human health and the environment and encourages all individuals in the United States to protect, conserve, and maintain the environment by taking steps to reduce their plastic pollution, this month and beyond.