"Big Plastic Asks for $1 Billion Coronavirus Bailout"

"The plastic industry is asking Congress for $1 billion to bail out plastic recycling during the coronavirus crisis. “Recycling is an essential service and consumers are demanding products with more recycled content,” an alliance of industry groups that included Dow, the American Chemistry Council, Berry Global Group Inc., and the Plastics Industry Association wrote in an April 16 letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House members. “In order to meet the demands of this crisis, we need investment now.”

The companies and industry trade groups seeking the money are calling themselves the Recover Coalition, a reference to the Recover Act, a bill introduced in the House in November that calls for allocating $500 million to recycling infrastructure over five years. In their letter, which was first reported in Plastics News, members of the coalition “implore” the House members to include the Recover bill “in any infrastructure package Congress considers either in response to the COVID-19 pandemic or separately” and to double the original funding request, noting that “We feel the time and need is right to seek a program of $1 billion.”

But others feel that the middle of a deadly pandemic, when millions of people don’t have enough money to pay rent and eat, is not the right time for the plastics industry to seek a government bailout. “Having multinational companies with their tin cups out asking for taxpayer dollars at this moment in time is wrong,” said Judith Enck, founder of the environmental group Beyond Plastics. “We need the federal spending to go to things like more testing, contact tracing, investments in clean energy — and not to attempts to prop up the feeble plastics recycling infrastructure.”"

Sharon Lerner reports for The Intercept April 27 2020.

Source: The Intercept, 04/29/2020