tv Hearing on Plastic Pollution Impacts CSPAN October 30, 2019 12:52pm-2:13pm EDT
messages. and also joining us sunday is david shulkin, it should not be this hard to serve your country, and recounting the time in the veterans affairs and he is joined by the veterans affairs ceo jeremy butler. >> the government's involvement in v.a. care is the most effective way of honoring our nation's commitment to the veterans. that does not mean that veterans should not have the ability to go into the private sector when it is in their best interest or the care is better or the specialized care is better in the v.a. we believe that it should all be available. >> watch book tv every weekend on c-span 2. actor and environmental advocate ted denison wanson was capitol hill to talk about the
issues with plastic straws. he is a member of oceana. and it also included testimony from other environmental advocates and plastics industry representative representative. >> the subcommittee on oceans and wildlife will come to order. i may look like congressman huffman, but i am not. it is a shock. congressman huffman is back in sonoma and able to deal with the wildfires and he was not able to get back here in washington, and so we are all hoping that, you know, that the fires subside and that, you know, many people are
safe and that mr. huffman returns soon. so with that, the subcommittee on water, oceans and wildlife will come to order. the subcommittee is meeting today to meet on the testimony of a sea of problems, the impact of plastics on ocean, water and wildlife. any oral opening statements at the hearings are limited to the chairman, the ranking minority member, the vice chair and the vice ranking member. this is going to allow us to hear from our witnesses sooner and help keep, help the members to keep to their schedules and so therefore i ask for unanimous consent that all other member's opening statements be part of the hearing record if they are submitted to the subcommittee clerk by 5:00 p.m. today or the close of the hearing which ever comes first. hearing no objections, so
ordered. i am going to open up now, and welcome all of the witnesses, and today, we are here to discuss a pressing environmental issue which is plastic pollution. certainly single-use plastics have made life easier, but these materials come at a much higher cost than many would like to admit. plastic last for centuries in the natural environment, and found nearly everywhere on the planet. last year i witnessed the impact of plastic pollution on wildlife in antarctica and one of the few places on the earth that has been untouched by human activity, but certainly not untouched by the scourge of plastics. personally, i have been involved in trying to tackle the growing plastic crisis for over 20 years, and working with my constituent and friend captain charles moore who created the scientific research organizational galita and who
did some of the early research on the garbage issue. there is a estimated 18 million metric tons the of plastics that enter the oceans each year at the rate of one garbage truck per minute threatening the biodiversity and accumulating in the seafood that we eat and the water that we drink, and the plastics have been found in the water samples right here in the capital centre. plastics are making the climate change worse and the global life cycle change of one year's plastic production in the united states are about the same as 462 coal-fired plants each year and this is rising. this is an industrial issues as
well. pet row facto petro facilities are in low income areas, and are often ignored. finally, we have to look at the solutions to deal with the ghost fishing gear that has been lost at sea, but it continues to catch fish, marine mammals and turtles and corals, and it is clear that we need to reduce plastic pollution, and the higher commitments, and bans on single-use items can be part of the solution, but we must expand the tools to address this growing and environmental public health problem. in this committee, we switched to reusable pitchers for water rather than the disposable plastic water bottles that we see so often around the capital, but not every switch is as easy, and not everyone has the option. the financial burden of cleaning up pollution should not be on, should not be solely on the
taxpayers. it is imperative that the companies that manufacturer and sell these products take ownership of the environmental impacts. congress needs to step up. it is for this reason that i have been working on the comprehensive legislation with senator udall, and our legislation seeks to create a more circular approach by putting in place an extended producer responsibility program, implementing recycling content standards as well as phasing out certain single-use only items that have more sustainable alternatives, and i'm excited to announce that we should have a discussion draft of this legislation quite soon which we will disseminate, and disseminate publicly and encourage you all to let you know the thoughts and comments after the release. some federal agencies are also doing their part.
kn noaa's marine project addressed new projects addressing aspects of the problem, but this $2.7 million does not come close to addressing the scale of the ocean plastic problem. the bottom line is this that we need to do more. we need to look at a broader range of solutions that are going to prevent wildlife from being strangled and to keep microplastics from ending up on our plate. with that, i look forward to hearing more from our witnesses about their ideas and i will now invite the ranking member to share his remarks. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the subcommittee meets today to hear the system on the plastics and the impact on the oceans. from the tenor of the written testimony, it appears that the majority is blaming american consumers for the plastic waste that reaches the oceans and proposing to place restrictions on them that will dramatically
reduce the convenience and the higher quality of life that plastics have contributed to the modern society while increasing the costs dramatically. blaming america first seems to be a recurring theme. but the facts paint a different picture. in 2017 study published in the environmental science and technology magazine found between 88% and 95% of all of the plastic debris that enters the oceans comes from ten rivers and none of which is anywhere close to the united states. eight of them are in asia, and two are in africa. according to the 2015 study, the top 20 marine plastic producers produced as much as 7.6 million metric tons of waterborne plastic debris, and the united states produced barely 1%. and indeed the entire united states contributed less waterborne plastic pollution than north korea. who does the majority blame for
this? american consumers, but as dean kilpatrick once observed, always blame america first. according to the epa americans have increased the plastic recycling from 20,000 tons in 1908 to 3.1 million tons in 2015. that is a 155 fold increase. american consumers are going to great lengths to responsibly dispose of the plastic waste and the numbers show that. american consumers are heroes and not villains in this fight against the plastic pollution of our oceans. we should be celebrating them and not punishing them. yet, that is just what draconian restrictions on the plastic use would do starting with the 1.7 million families who depend on the plastics manufacturing to put food on the table, and roofs over their heads and taxes in our government coffers. and the largest state of unemployment is in my home state
of california where thousands of californiians are employed. and there is also the toothpaste tube, the shampoo bottle and the plastic bag and they criticize them as wasteful since the plastic is used once and discarded and takes between 50 to 100 years to decay. if they are properly discarded as americans do, what is the problem? the most common ancient discarded was the ankara, a plastic, and the mount statute in rome is from discarded that has been discarded 2 million years ago, and the romans were infinitely better off for it. so if we are going to ban the
single-use plastic containers, what is going to replace them? what about the toothpaste. before, they came in collapsible metal tubes, and do you find this a more environmentally friendly container? the toothpaste tube is to protect consumers from getting glass jars and dipping the toothbrush into them. should we return to glass jars and before that they came in cardboard boxes and wax paper which required creating a batch every time you wanted to brush your tooth. and so plastics are a good use of food storage and before it was tin. and it takes 7.5 kilowatts of electricity to make one pound of aluminum and do the plastics critics think that a environmentally friendly solution is returning to metal containers. before metal containers, glass was used. glass takes 1 million years to
decompose, and 1,000 times longer than the longest estimate for plastic decomposition, and so i suppose that we could go back to cardboard and paper, but i remember the campaign to ban the paper bags as environmentally offensive, and so we dutifully replaced them with plastic bags which are now attracting the ire of the environmental left. sing single-use plastics properly disposed of mean lower prices for american consumers and much smaller environmental footprint than the other packaging materials they have replaced. so i am interested today in hearing why americans who have an exemplary record of responsible plastic disposal and recycling are to blame for the excesses of other people in other countries and why those same americans should be punished with higher prices and less convenience and a lower standard of lives, and also, what are the plastics critics proposing for alternatives for
the plastic containers that they have not already rejected over the years. yield back. i am going to ask for unanimous consent that the representative from new mexico, mr. holland be allowed to sit on the dias and participate in the proceedings. without objection, that is ordered. now, i'm going to introduce our witnesses. our first witness is mr. ted danson and maybe you know him as michael on "the good place" or sam on "cheers" but mr. danson is also the vice chair of the board of directors at oceana where he has been closely involved since its inception.
our next witness will be mr. juan perez who is the founder and executive director of the texas environmental justice advocacy service or tejas. and following him is professor beckett from the university of georgia and author of the lead groundbreaking study. and joining her will be the president and ceo of the plastics industry association. radaiezkinzi. you must limit the statement to five minutes and when you begin the lights on the witness table will turn green. after four minutes the yellow light is going to come on. the time will have expired when
the red light comes on, and lit ask you to please complete the statement, and i will allow the entire panel to testify before questioning witnesses. the chair now recognizes mr. danson to testify. welcome to our committee. >> i would like to thank the chair and rank member and members of the committee for the opportunity to testify on plastic pollution. i'm the vice chair of oceana's board of directors. oceana is the largest organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. i have been working on the ocean issues for more than 30 years. in the late 1980s i co-founded the american oceans campaign which then joined with oceana in 2002. i am here to testify today about the growing problem of plastic pollution that is threatening the oceans, and almost from the moment we wake up to go to bed
we are faced with the throw away plastic, and we face it with the time we brush our teeth with a plastic toothbrush and squeeze the paste out of the plastic tube and then wash our hair with the shampoo and conditioner from the plastic bottles, and the rest of the daily routines are coffees with plastic lids and lunch in plastic takeout containers and plastic utensils and the grocery shopping where single-use plastic is unavoidable. there is not a place untouched by the pollution from all of the plastic. the list of the marine animals affected by plastic pollution grows. it is 90% of the seabird species and eaten by every species of sea turtle, and even our corals are threatened. in addition to polluting the marine environment, plastic poses a risk to human health. we are now seeing the plastic in our water, our food, soil, air
and bodies. the plastic particles have been found in honey and beer to salt and tea. plastic is also affecting our climate. if plastic was a country, it would be the planet's fifth largest emitter of the greenhouse gases. with plastic production rates anticipated to increase, so will plastics' effects of the climate and the oceans. the most important thing to remember about plastic is that it lasts for centuries. this is what makes single-use plastic so profound. they are created from a material meant to last forever, but designed to be used once and thrown away. simply improving recycling rates will not solve the plastic crisis. of all of the plastic wastes generated only 9% has been recycled. that means that the vast majority was sent to a landfill,
incinerated or ended up polluting our natural environment, including our oceans. recycling is like trying to mop up water from an overflowing bathtub while the faucet is still running. we need to turn off the faucet and reduce the production of plastic. companies need to significantly reduce the amount of the single-use plastic they are putting on to the market, and offer consumers plastic-free choices for their products. and unfortunately, companies are not doing enough, and that is why we need your healtlp. governing are effective and policies are more common around the world and across this country. the european union, peru, chile and canada are implementi ining policies to reduce plastic pollution. and cities and counties and states have taken the initiatives and passing the
policies to reduce single-use plastics, but ultimately the comprehensive u.s. federal action is needed. this committee should use the authority to tackle the problem. i applaud you for stopping the use of the plastic bottles in the committee hearings, and the national park service had a policy to encourage the national parks to stop selling water in plastic bottles, but the policy has been reversed. the committee should make our national parks and wildlife refugees and marine sanctuaries and land and waters to be single-use plastic-free zones. i urge congress to pass legislation to stop pollution at this source. and significantly reduce the production of the ever lasting pollutant, and holds corporations responsible for this global crisis and enables the states and cities to continue to lead the way on solutions. don't fall for the false promise
of recycling. and please don't stoop to incineration. we must stop the increase in plastic production and reduce the amount of plastics that companies are making and foisting on us, because it will last for centuries and we have no more time to waste. thank you. >> thank you, mr. danson. the chair now recognizes mr. pa parros to testify for five minutes. >> thank you, i, too, thank you, ranking chairman rosenthal. i am with the texas advocacy services. we have been working on the environmental justice issues over the houston channel for 16 years. we work at the intersection of human rights and social justice issues. we call houston home, and share it with the largest petrol
chemical complex in the nation. it is also the largest city with no zoning meaning that the refineries and the petrol tanks and other infrastructures and industries can be built on the fenceline bordering them. 99% of the plastic is derived from the fossil fuels, and of those plastics produced they from fracked gas and oil, and explosion of the natural gas products has led to the ever increasing demand for the liquid gas, and serving as building block for the plastic production. napalm is a product of the refining, and another element of the plastic production. five companies account for half of the local sales, and b.p., chevron, exxon mobile and shell and the international company. and this is within an hour of
our front door companies. we are already exposed to a mix of toxin pollutants authorized and not and from industrial sources along the houston ship channel. over the past several years that petrol chemical complex has been expanding. post hurricane harvey, we were tracking the emissions and realized that those emissions were related to the ever growing market of plastics. ethane terminals revolve around one thing, the production of plastics. and we see the exposure of the ethane crackers and methane, and we realize this is shifting from traditional production to the total utilization, and so however, as they expand, so, too, did the instability of this petrol chemical plants. we have seen an increase in the
chemical disasters in the houston ship channels. in the most recent fires, 47 people were injured with first-degree burns. the workers were evacuated and later required to re-enter the plant as the fire was burning. to compound, the commission's bay town quality monitors malfunctioned in the event and deprived the community members of the valuable air quality data to protect their health. those displaced fire victims were forced to shelter. and the exxon mobile has a invest of $20 million this the expansion projects in the gulf of texas. recent disasters, march 16th, 2019, the ict fire in 2017, where people were held hostage to chemical plumes 17 miles long and 15 miles wide.
and there were also 37 workers injured and on september 20th, 2019 where nine chemical barges collided after tropical storm imelda destroyed the evacuation routes. and the center of environmental law found that if trends in the oil consumption trends continue, the consumption of the oil by the plastic sector will account for 20% of the total consumption by 2050. a recent study uncovered 90% of the facilities in the houston region violated the pollution control laws over the past five years and subject to environmental enforcements, but many more exceeded their permits and they were not penalized the state records show. this compounding emissions resulted in chemical impacts of neighboring communities including an increased risk for developing cancer and other health conditions.
plastic poses a distinct risk to public health and weas well as waste. plastic is from the dinner table to every part of our life is being produced by vulnerable communities and people of color, and indigenous and immigrant people who have to pay the price of shortening the life span of our children and elderlies and i will see that i am out of time, but i will submit the entire document, thank you. >> thank you, mr. parros and now the chair recognizes dr. janbeck. >> thank you chairman rosenthal, and chairman mcclintock. i'm honored to testify here. i'm a professor of engineering
at the university of georgia and academic fellow. i have been conducting research on solid waist for over 20 years with the marine debris for 18, and especially the projects with space analysis, and characterization and global plastic waste management. i have witnessed and exampled the plastics as i sailed across the atlanta in 2014 and i have coded the marine tracker which is funded by the noaa marine program in 2011 where over 2 million items have been logged by people all over the world. i have previously testified to the senate on this issue and the committee on fisheries wildlife. and i'm a participant in the informational speaker pros gram with the u.s. state department which has brought me to 13 different countries and economies around the world to engage with governments, academics and ngos and citizens on this issue. i have submitted along a written document, but my testimony is my
opinion based on my background and experience based on marine and plastic waste. when i previously testified before congress i spoke to educate awareness of the issue based upon my research, but now we know that we have major problem with the plastic ending up in the ocean. this science has increased ra d rapidly in four years and we have produced 4.83 billion tons of metric plastic and 40% of this is used for packaging and the single-use items, it means that 6.3 billion of that had become waste by 2015. so what have we done with the waste? how did we manage it? we repsycheled 9% cumulatively, and locally and globally only recycled 9%, and another 12% had been incinerate and that means that 79% has ended up either in the landfill or the open environment. so as a result of weathering an exposure to sunlight plastic in the environment, it does not
biodegrade, but it fragments into smaller particles into areas that we cannot measure yet. we estimated that the global quantity of the plastics entering the ocean at 18 million metric tons in 2010 and equal to a dump truck of plastic entering every minute. though actions have been taken globally to stop the projection of the doubling by 2025, the population growth and use is driving factors to increase of plastic uses and the streams. we agree that we want to keep the plastic out of the ocean in the first place. there is a tremendous opportunity for continued bipartisan support and action on the issue, and in the intervention framework, we start all of the way upstream with the waste generation, and especially with the places high for generation rates like in the
u.s., and our waste regeneration is two to six times that, and around the country, and still economically developing countries and the reduction can be obtained through a matter of choice, and policy led changes. when we need packages, there needs to be a more distinct capture of the choice, and the end of life management, and currently the management system has to deal with what is coming their way, and this is one contributing factor to exporting to the 60% of the plastics in the country and primarily of those in lower income, and to the plugs of their country as well. engagement of the stakeholders from the production to use to management is critical to make sure that all voices are heard. so one reminder that i have to give is that there are people behind the numbers that i gave you and we have to collectively come up with creative and socially productive solutions, because we are here today to prevent to you, a i am
optimistic that i can do that and i will work hard on the science to inform the policy, but everyone has an important role to play. so in the last points, i want to encourage you to try two experiments, and first fort the next 24 hours, take note of everything that you are touching that is plastic, from this you will see how widely used the material is and make you reflect on where and when the right times and places are going to be for use of the material. second, go outside on the scavenger hunt for litter. you won't have to go far, and look at each item as a message for you as the figurative and literal message in a bottle. ask yourselves three questions, one, what is it? how did it get here? and three, what are we going to do about it? the data collection and citizen science within a framework structure can contribute to the critical data needed to inform the circular management and communities, and i believe that these questions like these can
empower the citizens, ngos and policy makers like you have to take the most relevant and impactful action for the countries and state and community. thank you. >> thank you, dr. janbeck. the chair now recognizes tony radashevski to testify. >> good afternoon, chairman lowenth lowenthal, and vice chair mcclinton. i am the ceo of the plastics association, and we call ourselves plastics for short, and we use that term proudly. plastics were first developed by john wezsley hyde for billiard balls. and so it was told to be gruesome and inhumane, so he went to find a material that is like ivory at a fraction of the cost and the environmental impact. that is the story to plastics
from the genesis to today. it is a material to meet or exceed other materials with a fraction of the cost and with the lower environmental impact. since they were developed, they have grown to make hospitals safer and patient care more sterile and effective and affordable. in the century and half since they were invented, cars and trucks and planes are more efficient and affordable, and virlt ally friendly and ultimately safer. and plastic pipes brings water to people and takes the wastewater away for the most economical and sustainable way. plastics have also made food last longer and improving the health and safety to millions across the world. the plastics industry employs 993,000 people in the united states. the state with the largest number of plastics employ is california where 97,000 men and women are directly employed by the industry. i can say with confidence that none of them got into the business to pollute our oceans and waterways and also, i can say with confidence that they
entered with a passion to improve the quality and safety of people. where our products end up upsets me and those nearly 1 million people who work in the industry feel the same way, but it is a fact, and it is also a fact that the staggering 8 million tons the of plastics ends up in the world's oceans and it originates mostly from rivers in south asia and that is a great deal of value when the they end up in lakes and rivers and oceans. we agree that there is a plastic waste problem, and the urgency cries out for a solution more thoughtful than to say no to a material that is lowering greenhouse emissions and is more recyclable than metal or glass. and we have shown that banning plastic products drives consumers to other less sustainable materials. the bans have a minor impact on
litter if at all. the plastics are used in a diverse array of materials when all options are evaluated. in a free market society, consumers decide what is better performance. in so many choices, the plastics with the lower weight, the durability, and the flexibility, and the sustainability make them popular. they became more produced because of the reduction of paper bags, and when they are disposed of properly, these plastic products have smaller footprint than other items made of similar materials. so we need to go in the opposite direction to enhance the value because they are worth too much to waste. this is through recycling and waste management infrastructure.
and we are looking at ways to improve the infrastructure which is what we need to close the loop. we have proposed the 2.0 to combat marine debrises and seen action in various senate committees with companion legislation introduced in the house. the industry has stepped up to the challenge by innovating like it has and developing new chemistries and new site collection technology, and ways to convert the plastic waistes o energy, and meet the need for the recycled content, but we need the support of the federal, state and local authorities to make sure that no american has to wonder if the bottle they toss in the blue bin is going to end up as recycled or landfill fodder. so a recent quote from japan's prime minister shinzo abe, the user is not the enemy, but we
need to find a solution of disposal. i love this industry, and i have worked for for it nearly 40 years and i feel it is the greatest creations and delivered enormously to public health and commerce all over the world. we need to learn how the live with the materials, because i can assure you that we would not want to have to live without them. thank you and i look forward to the questions. >> thank you for your testimony, mr. radishevski that rule 3d is a five-minute limit on the questions and the chairman is going to recognize the members for questions that they wish to ask the members of the panel or the witnesses, and i'm going to recognize myself for five minutes of questions. so my first question goes to dr. janbeck, and i wanted to follow up on something that you have said and also something that the ranking member spoke about in his introduction where he said
that there is no real problem here in the united states. the real amount of plastics come from the asian countries and so, dr. janbeck, you know how much is entering the oceans from china and vietnam and other southeast asia players a san diego this the real pi-- player tell us the impact of the contributions of the united states in oceans debrises and the plastic weight and has that been partially hidden by the reliance of exporting our waste to primarily to asia. calculations of plastic into the ocean we could take into account the import export aspect, so
what we did see where these factors to rapidly develop where the infrastructure to manage the waste that comes with increased waste generation and that comes with economic growth but infrastructure was lagging behind. the areas that have been referred to hear many of them are developing most leakage, but in my testimony, the waste per person is two to six times that within the u.s., and looking at the leakage as a percentage of what we generate, the reason that the u.s. is only the high income country within the top 20 countries within that original paper is because of the waste generation rates. so in terms of a contribution to
the total waste of 2.6 billion, we are a major contributor. to e so what is coming in the 90s to make it easier, we can put everything in one bin. that with the commodities and the wto encouraging global tradt and china needing material for r manufacturing to becoming the manufacturing hub of the world,s that set up this rapid increase in exporting of our recycled n n materials and for me, we looked at recycled plastic, and so ovec half of that had been going to china until they stopped that, d and the end of 2017 which cause. a cascade impact on the recyclew industry within the u.s. itself, and so that has been a major problem, because we were relying on the lower income countries toing in the material, and in many cases with china having trouble managing their own and . us exporting on top of it is
increasing to pollution as well. so it is very interconnected and complex, but i hope it clarifies some. >> thank you. i wanted to raise some. questios about, all right, we know about the waste of plastics and going into the ocean, and how does this impact the species and we have seen that it is the itbes, i hopepe i said that right, the study that is a threat to marine diversity, and seen as a threat. the first question is that you know, mr. danson, is plastic is affecting species that are in danger of extinction and trying to understand not only how it gets into the ocean, and what some of the impacts are.
>> some of the impacts is turtles. every turtle is on the endangered species or close to,s and every species of turtle has. ingested plastic. plastic does not go away completely, but breaks down to smaller and smaller pieces, anda so a turtle or the sea mammal or fish may ingest that plastic and they believe they are full, because their stomachs are full of plastics and so they stop eating and they starve to death. albatross, end up dipping into what they think is a sea, sorry, some sort of a, something they like to eat in the water, but it isis plastic and they feed it to their child and the bird dies for the same reason, they starve to death. so, yes, it is having an impact on whales and many species. >> thank you, my time has been
we, and so i am going to yield and call upon representative im graves who is looking very good on the democratic side for a while, and we welcome him back. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i have recruited a number of members to come to our side. >> and coming to my district. >> i look forward to it. i wanted to make it clear that e mr.pr lowenthal and i was argui a while back and come to see ths people i represent and the communities they represent and c obviously, you understand why i say the things that i say and do what i do, and to his credit hem louisiana and i put him on the airboat, and we put you on the airplane and helicopter and took him all over the place and made him eat yourp toawfish, and plastic-free crawfish and i thank you and looking forward to going to yout part of the country. >> it is going to be great. >> to talk some wisdom into the
people. >> and now you have to ask the questions, and your five the o minutes. >>nity seriously, thank you ver the friendship and the opportunity to meet with some of your constituents. of yo thank you all for being here, and i wanted to be clear that i very much appreciate all of your efforts to remove plastic from e the gulf stream, and the goal ep that i represent and share, and part of the coast of louisiana and one of the top commercial and recreational fishing and destinations and producer ins the united states and not just fishing for fun, but part of the sustenance and culture in louisiana. look, we can talk the end game, but i am curious for a minute soat there is a huge part of the stream that exists and you have plastics in the ocean, and somewhere in ust
recycle chain with what china h has done and whate do we do rign now to just putting the t long term aside andnd looking at thee incredible waste streams in the ocean, and i'm well aware and supportive of some of the legislation that we have pushed out of the house to deal with that, but what do we do with the current waste stream of plastice and the current waste stream that is to be recycled, but wit? the china ban, and putting it in the ocean, and what would you do? i would like too askplas all of opinions starting with mr. it e danson. >> i would reduce thehrow single plastic, because it is designed to live forever and you use it . once and throw it away. take the easy things like that,s that are not necessary. >> let me clarify the question you have plastic singularly usee and soan it is already somewher in the waste stream whether it is in the oceans or, somewhere in the shipping or somewhere
where it is going to be recycled, but it is somewhere i> the waste stream already, and how do we handle that waste stream? >> i am not sure if it is in the ocean, i am not sure that you can. it is like oil, and once it sco in the water column, you cannot get it out. maybe you can scoop some of the prvious and bigger pieces out, and breach cleanup, and all of that, but compared to the amount of plastic that is about to be produced in the next 20, 30 year, it is going to be scaled up, and you can't compete with the amount of plastic production by recycling, and picking up on the beaches. >> thank you. mr. parros? >> what i see in the neighborhoods and the communities all over the country is that the plastic is actually made to be disposable, it seems like and it is affordable, because it is plastic and what happens is that the people don't consider it as trash or valuable, and so they get rid of it. and until we start to charging
more for the production of the plastics so that we can have major cleanups, it may help. ha >>size i thank you. and i would like to ask you, dr. janbeck, i am talking about the existing load that is there and. i am interested in hearing the last witness talk about the technologies moving forward, bue please. >> sure. and quickly, what is already in existence is probably the easiest thing to grab, and so t our area that is well familiar with and one of the materials that is not very valuable, and recycling, and what is existing is the diversity of thet plastis there, and the challenges with the recycling, and so most of it is going to get landfilled heret in the u.s. and so, that is not the best thing that we wish, because we wish that more of it could be ur recycled. >> thank you. y f >> thank royou. >> today, our industry, the four value components of the value
chain from the rez resin manufacturers and the end users in the recycling, and the end use of the products ranging from the sorting to the plastics that are most de predominantly used in the recycling, and the high density polyethylenology b polyethylene, and also used in a waste stream for other applicablewh applications. the other technologies used nd e right now are i chemical recyclg to take the products back to the basic form, and repoll merirepo and reuse it in packaging. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. i now recognize representative case for five minutes. st >> thank you,ions. chair. the ranking member asked two, think good questions. the first is that he asked what exactly is the problem, and thee
second question that he asked was why should americans take the blame for the excesses of the rest of the world, and those are two good questions in the debate. as for the first question, and e giving a a couple of questions from my perspective in the state of hawaii, we have the largest marine monument in the area that 52 metric tons of debris probl which is almost all going to fishing gear every year. now, why is that a problem?n the well, the coral reefs are endangered around the world, anh degrades into the smaller parts that are digested into the marine life, and we have only 24 monk seals left, and they get trapped and die. that specie is highly endangered, and we have invasivc species hitching a ride on the
ghost plastics to other parts of the world where we cannot take that ofimpact. in hawaii, we went on the first world reef day on june 1st this year to the north short of oahuo to a beach where i tried to help clean up one of the sustainablek coastlines and trying to do something about it on the microlevel. a beach that ihite used to walk that was pretty white is now all different colors, green, yellow, red, and very small particles of the plastics and not degraded, m but down into the level of ingestion at the very lowest to levels of the marine life.uest that is what theio problem is. e now, as to the ranking member'sg second question, why should we s take the hit when the rest of doing anything about it, and that is a legitimate question, because it reminds me of the debate over climate change where essentialle the same question is posed.
why should we reduce our emissions when the rest of the world is not doing that, and s us to one leading international agreements as to what i can see as being one of the only ways to get at this problem from the international perspective. so, youctive know, mr. danson, a oceana partner with the international organizations towards an international solution to plastics in the ocean given that it does put us at a disadvantage for us to plastics ly curb our use from several perspectives lt and yet the county of honolulu is doing that, and are you partnering with the rest of ther world toe lite find those international agreements? a >> yes, i believe we are, and there are literally thousands or at least a thousand groups effr around the world working on peci plastics, and this is a united effort. i canto the get you more specif
when i talk to the staff of a h oceana. see we have not talked about the ge greenhouse emissions and other pollution, and plastics is such a big part of that story. i don't see how we cannot reduce our greenhouse emissions and plastics if we don't do that and if we don't, how do we expect the rest of the world to follow along. yeah, so, sorry. a >>re and mr. radizieski, you sa that you and your industry is te supportive of a bipartisan bil introduced inn the house and tho senate, bi-cameral, and it is rn calling forts more incentives a the federal level, but also pursuing the international agreements that would curb the plastic uses and especially the single-plastic use around the world.
ie wanted to, your testimony sounded to be inconsistent with that position, that part of the save our oceans 2.0. are you supportive of pursuing the international agreements whereby the entire world would t agree to reduction of use and dumping plastics into the oceans? >> wezation are involved and ea working with international organizations to find the solutions to problems that exist today. the we are engaged with the whether it is the british plastics union, the canadian plastics association, and the new zealand plastics organization to work in consortium with them to find the abilities to minimize the wasted in the ocean, and in the land ae well. >> okay. so, that doesn't sound like what i am talking about. he it sounds like you are working o withrld t the rest of the plasti industries around the world to manage it going into the ocean, but not necessarily reducing it.
>> reducing or reusing or recycling, and that is a numberh of options in the 2.0, and many parts that we like, and others fiat we would like to negotiate with. >> thank you. >> thank you. utes. i will now recognize the ranking member for five minutes of questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think that mr. case was not listen vrg close to whing very i am talking about plastics in landfills or incinerated and in the oceans s and america accounts for less than one percent of the marine plastic solution, and so even ie we went to the extreme to damage all plastics and having a devastating effect on the i economy, and would not reduce the amount in the oceans. you and so this is an intriguing
question that ms. janbeck said.h if you look at how much you as s touch, isn't that an indication of how useful plastic is in oure lives. >> yes, whether it has replaced, glass, paper, steel, aluminum, and the reason that there is sof much plastic isis because it is the best packaging. >> and isn't her the warning of how the quality of life would be less quality because of banning it? >> i would think that it would be gone, and the accessibility of the food stuffs that give ust a higher quality of life and not only to americans on the east and the west coast, and also, the lower transportation costs and the food is staying safer t and healthier and fresher and t that is all of the reasons that the quality of life not only in the united states, but across le the world hast's increased.
>> and dr. janbeck's question begs a correlating question, think of everything that we nd r touch every single day. d. and it is either mined or grown, it is not?t? >> i would think. >> i don't know of a single exception, and that is opening up a new question, and that is, well, what is the alternative to plastics? i use the example of the toothpaste tube, and what is ths alternative to that? >> well, even in your original it imony you mentioned what used to be, and that is going is back w to what it was, and thats meaning glass bottles, and leadi is once used in the toothpaste tubes, because of the softness of it, andfootprin if you are g backward, it is a material with a higher carbon footprint and more energy to produce and weigh more and the transportation costs increase, and you have that aspect as well. hnol >> soogy at this juncture in o technology and science and our
civilization, plastics are the s mostsi environmentally-friendly alternative that we have to o bk engage in t the commerce that makes our civilization possibleo does it not?ny >> yes. timeme wr looking at food packaging and the ability to get bratwurss at any time, because it is t wrapped in plastic and foam board packet made of styrene is accessible to everybody, and the meat stuffs and the sausage patty containers are bringing product to the shelf economically and safely. >> i am curious, mr. danson, hot do we get the toothpaste for example, and how do you suggesta that we sell toothpaste, because you want to go back to toothpaste tubes and you want tf
go back to glass jars or lead?ry >> i am not -- >> well, that is the problem. and there are no alternatives and it is clear that plastics have become a far better solution economically and environmentally, and to the telm materials that we havee used i. the past. it wou mr. reddishevski, please, tell us how it would impact the espoe overall economy? fo it would be detrimental to putting people out of work, ands there not a tha quick response supplying the demand that the marketplace has created for the products and so you would have i shortage of goods and the economic decline because of the lack of innovation of the materials in the plastics industry, and there is a whole e host of things effective, and what is going to happen to the consumer prices? >> well, they go up, and a simple example of the supply and demand, and the demand is not satisfied by the demand.
>> and the automobiles are for e example instead of plastic are going back to metal and looking at the name plates and they are plastic and in the previous day they were brass and much more expensive and much harder on the environment to mine, is that correct? >> it is. and in fact, look at the cafe standards, one of the he s reasons the automobile industry has been able to meet those cs o standards is because the incorporation of higher arm performing plastics. >> it's blame america first, let's harm the american consumer even the american consumer is disposing of playsic products and without any alternative, that to me sounds childlike. i yield back. >> thank you, ranking member. i saw call upon mr. cunningham for five minutes of questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you for holding this hearing today on an issue that's
near and dear to my heart and also our constituents in the first district of south carolina which stretches from charleston all the way down to hilton head. this issue is on the minds of south carolinians. many of whom dedicate their free time to support local beach cleanups in an effort to preserve our beautiful god-given resources and i'm proud to represent so many of these conservation leaders. the local surf rider chapter hosts beach cleanups almost every single weekend and we have the charlotte ton water keeper who has made it his livelihood to protect charleston's waterways by fighting for drinkable water. and today i actually came up
here from charleston with some of the plastic treasures that were recently found on our shoreline over the weekend from the goose creek reservoir, which is the source of the goose creek water supply. let's see what we have here today. this was found this weekend. looks like we've got a used piece of styrofoam here. we've got plastic water bottle here. single-use straw. you know, a single-use plastic bag. this actually looks like it's been kind of shredded or nibbled on, more than likely ingested by some type of marine life. this is what's left of it right now. a straw that we've all seen the pictures of sea turtles ingesting these and the damage that causes.
glass jar. and it looks like a potato chip bag, plastic. this isn't abnormal, unfortunately. this has become kind of the norm of what washes up on our shorelines or into our waterways every single weekend and a lot of people in this room are aware of it. in fact, earlier this year, a report was published on the economic impacts of marine debris. and i would like to enter this report for the record, not surprisingly, this report found that getting rid of debris from our beaches can have an affect on the tourism economy. that's a no-brainer. every year the coastal cleanup report shows the most frequently found items on the beach, in
2017, data showed for the first time that the top ten most commonly found items were all made of plastic. and that trend continued in 2018. what items -- is what you saw here today, is this typical of the items found in beach cleanups in your experience and how does this -- these discoveries help shape policy? >> well, they're all single-use plastics which is something we would like to reduce. they're all very convenient and easy for us to use but create problems. so that's our disposal lifestyle of which i am part of. it's very hard to deal with that every day. but people are coming up with solutions.
there's a toothpaste called bite that now comes in a little jar that's a powder and you add water that creates jobs and money and taxes. there are alternatives that we need to find. it's been incredibly useful and now it's become useful. not that the left or right has any monopoly on being smart about things, this is a problem for all of us. i believe we are capable of that. >> i appreciate it. and i appreciate you all being here today. unfortunately my time is coming to a close, but i know there's been some discussion here today as far as where the united states is as far as polluting and cleanup and everything but i think we should all agree that the united states of america is a leader and we should lead on this issue and no matter where we fall in the list of polluters, we should be leading by example and, you know, being
more responsible, being more of a sam instead of the norm, if you will. but just -- you know, being out in the front on this and recognizing that this is not sustainable. and we have to do everything in our power to make that come to an end. i appreciate what work you all are doing, i appreciate the time here today and with that i yield back. >> thank you, mr. cunningham. and i recognize the congressman for five minutes of questioning. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, for holding today's hearing. my first few months here in congress and my first year, i had this naive thought if there was a possibility for some committee members to get on an airplane and fly over this garbage patch that's in the pacific, now it has a new name,
it's the great pacific garbage patch and it's located just a little north of hawaii and right next to an island. i come from this area. it's a lot of small islands together. and you take all of those islands together all of them and put them together and it's hardly a large part of this garbage patch. we have in the northern islands that are conservation islands and unless you're a staoint wcin this island with permits you can't get on this island. and the scientists found that
they had to collect bags and bags and bags of plastic garbage. i don't mean any disrespect to all of you, thank you. mr. danson, sir, thank you very much for so many -- between you, your "cheers," i had so many great hours of entertainment. i notice among the four witnesses on the table, mr. radoszewki -- >> call me tony, how about that. >> you're the only with a plastic bottle of water. you really are for your product. yeah -- >> if you would like me to comment on that. >> no, i'm not asking you for a comment. it's an observation, sir. you didn't have to bring that, because there are glasses of
water in front of you. but you see these islands, we have this debris, but we're not responsible for that debris and that thing is floating and growing and it's one day going to cover microasia. microasia is the area is the size of the 48 contiguous states. so what do we do about that? you know, dr. jambeck, how much effort and resource would you think it would take to clean up this garbage patch? >> so what is floating out there is only about 3% of what we think is going in every year. so it's not a large amount but you're absolutely right in that what is floating ends up on
islands like yours that interrupt those currents. to be honest, the best way to get that out is if it's ending up on land and then cleaning that land -- like they do in hawaii. you know, getting -- there are folks who are trying to design systems to collect out in the great pacific garbage patch, but there's a lot of resources that go into that. and it's similar to mopping up the bathroom floor while the tap is on. >> imagine what it would be like for hawaii if that garbage gets closer and makes it on land. i don't have an answer to the problem. i really don't. i have a serious concern because i eat a lot of fish and everything and i agree that, you
know, these things get into the fish and it gets into what i eat. but i don't know. i don't have an answer. i'm not as smart as the four of you sitting at the witness table, or those people who aren't, but we need to take -- get something going and trying to find a way to resolve this and maybe find an alternative to plastic that's not going to hurt people's jobs, you know? there has to be something. we're a much better nation than we think we are, then we give ourselves credit for. my time is up. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you for hosting this important hearing. the topic of plastic in our
waters and oceans cannot be more pressing. a study conducted by the u.s. geological survey was published in may and found that plastic was found in 90% of rainfall samples in denver and bolder, colorado. an earlier study found people are swaling an average of five grams of plastic every week. for my constituents who are suffering, for the people across this nation and the world who are doing the same, it is imperative that we address this issue. it happens, mr. chair, quite fittingly, literally, one week ago on october 16th of 2019, a constituent of mine, her name is annie, she's a sophomore at a learning school in my district wrote to me about this very issue, about the issue of microplastics in our world's oceans and water systems. and she said i'm a small part of
this world, but i want to do everything i can to fix this problem. i am inspired by her commitment to fixing this problem and am heartened by the chairman's decision to host this hearing and my fellow committee members in their attempt to address this issue and for the witnesses who have joined us. i had a number of competing scheduling commitments from both a hearing perspective as well as meetings, but i was watching the testimony and some of the exchanges on the television in our office and there's one exchange in particular that was a bit interesting to me. and so i want to -- i had noticed that mr. danson, you didn't have an opportunity to respond to the question that was being posed by the gentleman from california, and so i would like to go back to the point that he made about the toothpaste. in 1984, how old were you, mr. danson?
if you're comfortable sharing it with us. >> i was born in '46. >> i believe that that would put you at 34 -- 43. i think that's right. in 1984, when you were 43. >> 33. >> i'm old, go on. what kind of car were you driving back in the 1980s? >> 1980s. ford explorer for a while. >> and it probably wasn't an electric car. >> no but i did have the first ev-1. >> you owned a home. did your home have solar panels back then? >> no. >> the reason why i ask, i was born in 1984.
i'm 35 today. i have a daughter who's 14 months old and i think a lot about the world that she will inherit and much of the work that we do in this committee and congress is about fighting to make sure that the world she inherits than the world we did. the changes that have happened just in the last 35 years since i was born have been dramatic, right, and you have chosen, amongst many other citizens in our country, and of course several of the panelists here to try to make a difference, to adopt strategies in your own life in the way in which you conduct yourself to be environment tally conscious and taking advantage of the technology abilities that have changed. this notion that we can't adapt, that removing microplastics that we all will be amiss with the realities of trying to replace the plastic tube that carries toothpaste, to me is a false choice. we all collectively are going to have to adopt strategies that
enable us to move into a future in which microplastics are not polluting our planet. that to me is what this hearing should be about. to the extent that you would care to respond further. i know you talked about some of the alternatives to toothpastes containers and toothpaste brushes that are nonplastic options. if you care to also illuminate further on that -- >> i do know that people will invent new things and create more jobs and not create stuff that is worse for the climate. you're talking about climate change. you're talking about greenhouse gases and if you're talking about greenhouse gasses and in a committee of ocean plastic, you have to acknowledge that the plastic is coming from oil and chemicals and that lifespan from
the time of production to it lying on the beach is the equivalent, all of the plastic, as the fifth largest emitter of greenhouse gasses. if you want to take care of your children, you have to start addressing these incredibly inconvenient things that we have all gotten used to and enjoy, but they're no longer good for us and they're going to land on our children and grandchildren in a huge way. >> thank you. i yield the balance of my time and apologize to mr. danson for revealing his age. with that, i yield back. >> how old are you? >> 35. >> all right. thank you. i would like to thank the witnesses for their valuable testimony and the members for their questions. i found this very interesting. the members of the committee may wish to have some additional questions for the witnesses and we're going to ask you to respond to these in writing.
under committee rule 30, members of the committee must submit witness questions within three business days following the hearing and the hearing record will be held open for ten business days for their responses. just before i end, i want to introduce into the record a journal article the from the journal, volume nine, of the nature climate change of 2019 which was a study that showed that the global life cycle emissions from plastics which were produced in 2015 were 1.8 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. this is approximately annual emissions of 42 coal-powered
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