Rep. Stevens Chairs Science, Space and Technology Committee Hearing on Plastic Waste Reduction

June 24, 2021
Press Release

Washington, DC– Today, Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI), Vice Chair of the Science, Space and Technology Committee and Chairwoman of the Research and Technology Subcommittee, led a hearing on plastic waste reduction and recycling research. This hearing discussed current federal research as well as innovation that is still needed to address the plastics waste crisis in the United States. The Committee also heard testimony on Congresswoman Stevens’ bipartisan bill, The Plastic Waste Reduction and Recycling Research Act which would increase federal investments in plastic waste reduction, recycling R&D, and recycling standards development. 


Only 9 percent of plastic in our country is currently being recycled,” said Rep. Haley Stevens. “This is a staggeringly low figure, and we must do better. Harnessing the power of American innovation and bolstering public-private partnerships is a critical first step. I am thrilled that my bill, the Plastic Waste Reduction and Recycling Act was considered in today’s hearing and witnesses (listed below) who are nationally recognized experts on plastic waste reduction and recycling had the opportunity to offer their insight. I am confident that together we can make major strides to improve our recycling infrastructure and lead the world in the research and development of new, waste reducing technologies.” 


There are currently no national standards for plastic waste recycling. The Plastic Waste Reduction and Recycling Research Act will direct the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy to establish a program to improve the global competitiveness of the United States plastics recycling industry, ensure U.S. leadership in plastics waste reduction, reuse, and recycling research, ensure U.S. leadership in national and international standards development, and reduce harmful effects of plastic waste and plastic waste recycling on the environment. The bill will authorize funding for five years and invest $85 million in fiscal year 2022 for the development of new recycling technologies. 


  • Ms. Keefe Harrison, Chief Executive Officer, The Recycling Partnership
  • Dr. Marc Hillmyer, Director and Principle Investigator, University of Minnesota National Science Foundation Center for Sustainable Polymers
  • Dr. Gregory Keoleian, Director, Center for Sustainable Systems, Peter M. Wege Professor of Sustainable Systems, School for Environment and Sustainability Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, co-Coordinator, Engineering Sustainable Systems Program, University of Michigan
  • Mr. Joshua Baca, Vice President, Plastics Division, American Chemistry Council