July 11th, 2023
From providing employment opportunities to supplying operations with essential materials, the plastic manufacturing industry obviously plays a significant role in the U.S. economy. Therefore, it is not immune to influences within our domestic political landscape. Governmental decisions and policies can have a major say so on many processes, regulations, and sustainability practices of associated manufacturers. Below are some examples of just how legislative rulings can positively or negatively shape procedures in this important industry.
Federal, state, and local lawmakers implement key rulings related to waste management, recycling, emissions and product standards. Changes in partisan leadership or shifts in public sentiment towards environmental issues can lead to the introduction of new laws or a revision of an existing one. Thus, regulatory framework has a strong bearing on the ways in which those parameters will dictate production of plastics at any point in time.
Concerns over industrial pollution and its impact on our planet have often brought welcomed scrutiny and calls for action. However, party-line agendas can subsequently bring about limited formulation of ecologically sound policies that may directly affect the plastics business. Directives aimed at reducing single-use products, promoting recycling programs, or encouraging the use of justifiable materials can dictate supply, demand and manufacturing practices.
International Trade Agreements
International trade agreements are also highly politically motivated. Tariffs, trade barriers, and negotiations steer the import and export of plastic goods and raw resources. A huge topic specific to our industry – there is currently a 25% tariff on molds imported from China. Changes in trade rules can disrupt supply chains, influence pricing and affect the competitive market for plastic makers.
Political outcomes regarding investments can indirectly have a ripple effect on our industry. Improvements in transportation networks, ports and logistics infrastructure can enhance the efficiency of legitimate source lines, benefiting manufacturers. Additionally, government proposals supporting research and development of new constituents or recycling prospects can spur innovation.
The engineering of polymers is energy-intensive, relying heavily on fossil fuels. Laws regarding it, such as subsidies for renewable energy streams or carbon pricing mechanisms, can impact the cost and consequently, the expense for producing plastic. Changes in guiding regulatory acts can incentivize the industry to adopt cleaner and more eco-friendly procedures.
Government funding for R&D can have a key role in future high-tech advancements. Decision makers who push to allocate funding in this regard can show support into research of greener substances, recycling technologies and waste management solutions. Such venture-backed capital can drive the industry towards a more balanced ecologically sound tomorrow.
Lobbying and Advocacy
The plastics community engages in lobbying and advocacy efforts in order to enlighten and have a voice in governmental judgments that can ultimately alter operations. Special interest groups represent the interests of manufacturers and strive to move statutes in their favor. The sheer power of these lobbyists on politicians can show up deeply embedded in a final draft of specific pieces of legislation that are connected to the plastics manufacturing industry.
Employment and Economic Impact
Politics tends to stimulate the overall business conditions in which plastic producers work. A body of bills regarding taxation, labor laws, and trade can sway the industry's competitiveness and job growth in an up or down trend. However, transitions of leadership or variations in solid priorities help propel desired results in the right direction and could consequently contribute to improvement in the U.S. economy.
Collective focus on ecology and the circular economy is increasing within the industry. Political pressure for more stringent regulations and a wiser ecological mindset act as a catalyst towards the adoption of greener applications. Policymakers could and should champion forward-thinking initiatives while seeking goals that mesh sensibly with those of us who consistently promote or back better methods.
For these reasons and more, the United States government and the manufacturers of plastics are embroiled in so many ways. We must forge together to adapt and innovate, yet still encompass evolving expectations and remain competitive even in such an ever-changing political backdrop.