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Kentucky Becomes 18th State to Pass Advanced Recycling Law, Spurring Job Growth and a More Circular Economy for Plastics

Matthew Kastner

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 1, 2022) – Yesterday Kentucky’s Governor Andy Beshear signed H.B. 45 into law, which will attract jobs to the state while enabling more plastics to be remade over and over again.

The law was passed overwhelmingly in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, making Kentucky the 18th state to enact legislation that recognizes the important benefits of advanced recycling. H.B. 45 will appropriately regulate advanced recycling technologies as manufacturing operations rather than solid waste disposal, supporting investments in advanced recycling facilities and high-quality jobs for Kentucky residents.  

Advanced recycling is a manufacturing process that leverages chemistry to convert used plastic into top-quality new plastics. Through these modern technologies, many more types of plastics can be recycled compared to traditional recycling. Thanks to advanced recycling, even mixed and soiled plastics can be remade into new plastics approved for food, pharmaceutical and medical use. A 2021 report by Closed Loop Partners estimates advanced recycling could double the plastics packaging recycling rate in the U.S. and Canada by 2030.

“It’s a great endorsement for advanced recycling technologies when lawmakers from different sides of the aisle overwhelmingly agree on bringing advanced recycling to their state,” said Joshua Baca, vice president of plastics at the American Chemistry Council (ACC). “Passage of this bipartisan law is not surprising—advanced recycling will help bring jobs to Kentucky, reduce landfill material, and curtail greenhouse gas emissions as less raw materials will be needed to make new plastics.”

The legislation was sponsored by Representative Adam Bowling, who said, “This legislation has the opportunity to convert plastic waste to new products in a repeatable loop. This technology can be a gamechanger and help put Kentucky on the map as a leader in sustainable technologies. Reducing plastic waste, while simultaneously creating new jobs, is a win-win opportunity that will improve the lives of all Kentuckians.”

The Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM) was one of the leading supporters of the legislation. “On behalf of Kentucky’s manufacturers, we are grateful to Rep. Adam Bowling and the General Assembly for passing this common-sense legislation that will grow jobs and be good for the environment, and we thank Governor Andy Beshear for signing the bill,” said Frank Jemley, KAM’s Executive Director. “This is yet another important example of a growing reality:  manufacturing and environmentalism can and do go hand-in-hand. It won’t be the last.”

ACC applauds Governor Beshear and Kentucky’s lawmakers for promoting environmental sustainability and economic opportunities for Kentuckians.

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council’s mission is to advocate for the people, policy, and products of chemistry that make the United States the global leader in innovation and manufacturing. To achieve this, we: Champion science-based policy solutions across all levels of government; Drive continuous performance improvement to protect employees and communities through Responsible Care®; Foster the development of sustainability practices throughout ACC member companies; and Communicate authentically with communities about challenges and solutions for a safer, healthier and more sustainable way of life. Our vision is a world made better by chemistry, where people live happier, healthier, and more prosperous lives, safely and sustainably—for generations to come.

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