US Senator presents invoice with 10-cent tax on virgin plastic

HOUSTON (ICIS) – A U.S. Senate bill to introduce a 10 cents / lb tax on virgin plastic in 2022 is currently on committee after being passed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, under the REDUCE bill was introduced.

The Rewarding Efforts to Decrease Unrecycled Contaminants in Ecosystems (REDUCE) Act, also known as S.2645, applies to virgin plastic used to make single-use products, including plastic packaging, beverage containers, bags, and food service products. New plastics exported and recycled synthetic resin from the used market would be excluded.

The fee would apply to plastics manufacturers, producers or importers over 10 tons.

The table below shows the proposed tax on virgin plastic per pound from 2022 to 2024.


Tax per lb


10 cents


15 cents


20 cents

The bill also provides discounts for certain products, for example for companies that make medical devices, containers or packaging for medicines and personal care products.

New goods used to make single-use products would also qualify for this discount.

According to the text of the law, the income from these fees will be used to create a fund to reduce plastic waste.

The funds will be used to implement initiatives to reduce plastic waste and improve recycling rates.

The bill includes improvements to recycling infrastructure, marine litter reduction, detection, monitoring and cleanup measures to tackle pollution and the effects of plastic production.

The fund would also support grant programs established under the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act and the Marine Debris Act.

Importers are also subject to the levy and must provide information to determine the tax fee, but if they refuse to provide this information, they will be taxed at 10% of the item’s appraised value.

In a statement, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) rejected the bill, saying the US needs comprehensive public policies that will lead to a circular economy in place of the proposed bill.

“Unfortunately, the REDUCE Act takes a step-by-step approach by adding an excise tax on certain plastics sold, as well as a series of confusing discounts that seem to select winners and losers among consumer goods companies, with some paying the tax and others receiving a discount,” said ACC Vice President for Plastics Joshua Baca.

“Such a system would essentially penalize manufacturers of valuable American products without promoting a circular economy for plastics,” he added.

The bipartisan infrastructure bill passed in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday also includes a provision reintroducing superfund taxes on 42 chemicals. The reintroduction of taxes on chemical producers would be double what it was when the Superfund taxes expired in 1995 and is expected to be $ 13 billion.

“It is not time to pile up more taxes and fuel inflation further,” said Baca.

Last month, the ACC released its five-point action plan to expand the circular economy and strengthen America’s regulatory system to enable chemical recycling to scale up quickly.

It called for at least 30% recycled plastic by 2030 through a national standard for recycled plastic and the establishment of a national system of extended producer responsibility.