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EPA Should Not Regulate Advanced Recycling as Solid Waste Incineration

Matthew Kastner

WASHINGTON (September 27, 2021) – On Sept. 8, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking seeking comments and data to inform whether to regulate pyrolysis and gasification units as solid waste incineration units subject to section 129 of the Clean Air Act. The American Chemistry Council issued the following statement, which may be attributed to Joshua Baca, vice president of plastics:

“Pyrolysis and gasification units are the crux of advanced recycling facilities that convert post-use plastic into feedstocks for remanufacturing into valuable virgin-quality plastics. Since 2017, 14 states have enacted laws appropriately regulating advanced recycling as a manufacturing process, as opposed to solid waste disposal or incineration. The American Chemistry Council (ACC) supports the regulation of advanced recycling facilities as a manufacturing process because advanced recycling facilities receive plastics feedstock as a raw material and manufacture it into a higher value commodity in processes that do not involve incineration.

Advanced recycling is essential to ACC and EPA’s shared goal of creating a more circular economy for plastics. We have asked Congress to require all plastic packaging to contain at least 30 percent recycled plastic by 2030. Regulating advanced recycling as solid waste incineration would be inconsistent with the legal criteria and would invoke onerous and inappropriate permitting requirements, severely hampering states’ ability to modernize and expand plastics recycling to meet the 2030 goal.

ACC will submit comments to EPA and looks forward to working collaboratively with the agency throughout the development of this rulemaking.

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $486 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation's economy. It is among the largest exporters in the nation, accounting for ten percent of all U.S. goods exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation’s critical infrastructure.

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