Senate Committee Reviews Plastics and Recycling Issues

(June 24, 2020) – The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works conducted an oversight hearing on June 16 to discuss the growing challenges to recycling and the plastic waste problem. 

During the hearing, Senator Udall (D-NM) testified in favor of his bill, the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act. As NACWA has previously reported, this legislation would phase out many single-use plastic products, reduce plastic packaging, and hold manufacturers responsible for reducing plastic waste and recycling. The bill incorporates language that NACWA supports to address the labeling of flushable and non-flushable wipes. 

The hearing enjoyed limited bipartisan agreement beyond the notion that recycling and plastics management are worthy of further attention. While wipes were not specifically discussed during this hearing, NACWA will continue to advocate for policies that reduce the improper flushing of wipes products and advance the understanding of microplastics issues.  

Just this week, researchers in Ireland reported study findings that half of wet-wipe brands labelled “flushable” are found to contain harmful plastic microfibers. Their research examines the contribution of flushed personal-care textile products to ocean pollution, testing for microfibers in sediment. At one location, 91 percent of the microfibers were likely from wipes. Continued research into the impacts of flushed products on our waterways will help inform proper labelling and management.   

Please contact Cynthia Finley, Director of Regulatory Affairs to discuss NACWA’s wipes outreach and advocacy further.