America’s Plastic Makers Encourage Congressional Focus on Advanced Recycling to Achieve Circularity
WASHINGTON, DC (December 15, 2022) — Today the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Chemical Safety, Waste Management, Environmental Justice and Regulatory Oversight held a hearing to examine solutions to end plastic waste. The following statement may be attributed to Joshua Baca, vice president of plastics at the American Chemistry Council (ACC).
“America’s plastic makers are encouraged that both parties in the Senate are engaged in addressing solutions that keep used plastic out of our environment.
“Rapidly growing advanced recycling technologies offer a vital pathway toward achieving plastics circularity. Continued investments in advanced recycling are key to promoting a circular economy for plastics.
“The testimony of Eric Hartz, president and co-founder of Nexus Circular, helped explain the advanced technology his company uses to recycle plastics that typically are not recycled through traditional processes. He set out a clear, encouraging path to deploy technologies, such as pyrolysis, that can significantly increase the types and amounts of plastics that can be recycled.
“In addition, Mr. Hartz dispelled some of the inaccuracies around advanced technologies being spread by organizations that are unfamiliar with these technologies, including organizations at the hearing.
“In particular, Mr. Hartz helped clarify the clear distinction between advanced recycling and incineration.
The used plastics we accept are not waste. They are materials that have been segregated from the waste stream and often bound for landfills. There are no odor issues where we operate. We do some light sorting for suitability. Almost all the used plastics we process meet the ISO 14021 definition of post-consumer plastics. We cover a broad array of plastics: polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene and... hard-to-recycle films. There is no burning, gasification, nor incineration which all occur in the presence of oxygen and at much higher temperatures of 1,800 to 2,700 F (980 to 1,500 C). Some mistakenly equate advanced recycling to incineration. Besides being 3-4 times hotter, incineration requires oxygen, whereas our process has none. Actually, our process would fail with oxygen present, since it would not yield sellable circular outputs.
“America’s plastic makers look forward to working with Congress on comprehensive solutions to address plastic in the environment while driving new economic growth here in the U.S. – an important “win-win” that is achievable with the right policies, support, and dedication.
“We hope members of Congress will pass legislation so the U.S. can be a model for plastics circularity for the rest of the world.”
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