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Misinformation Campaign Stalls Advanced Recycling Legislation in Rhode Island House

Advanced Recycling Is Not Burning Plastics

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Matthew Kastner
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WASHINGTON, DC (June 22, 2022) — Rhode Island’s House leadership announced yesterday that they would not consider bills H 8089/S 2788A which would regulate advanced recycling facilities as manufacturing operations. The following statement may be attributed to Joshua Baca, vice president of plastics at the American Chemistry Council (ACC).

“By not advancing H 8089/S 2788A, Rhode Island’s lawmakers missed an opportunity to attract advanced recycling facilities that would create a cleaner environment and bring jobs to the Ocean State.

Advanced recycling takes more of the 90% of plastics that are not recycled today and remakes them into new plastics approved for uses with stringent standards, including food packaging and medical applications. Today, there are plastic-to-plastic advanced recycling facilities operating in the U.S. at commercial scale. Diverting just 25% of the recoverable plastics in Rhode Island to an advanced recycling facility in the state could generate up to $31 million in economic output and replace over 67,000 tons of virgin natural resources per year.

“We are on the cusp of a recycling revolution, made possible by innovation in advanced recycling technologies that have been optimized to remake plastics. Major brands from Wendy’s to Warby Parker are already using plastics from advanced recycling in their products today.

"The opponents that misinformed lawmakers and the public on this legislation bring only two things to the table: negativity and falsehoods. We have sustainable solutions, backed by science, data and the hundreds of people working at advanced recycling facilities across the U.S.  

“In place of critics’ falsehoods, here are the facts: Advanced recycling is not ‘burning plastics.’ The recycling process happens in a low or no oxygen environment making incineration thermodynamically impossible. Emissions are so low that facilities typically do not even meet the thresholds that would necessitate permitting by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, the draft legislation would not enable facilities to skirt environmental regulations. It would appropriately regulate those facilities as manufacturing operations, rather than solid waste disposal, because the facilities manufacture plastics or precursors to plastics.

“ACC appreciates Rhode Island’s Senate for passing S 2788A. We will continue to educate lawmakers on the advanced technologies that are keeping plastics out of our environment and in our economy.”

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the multibillion-dollar business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products, technologies and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health, safety and security performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy addressing major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. ACC members and chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development, and are advancing products, processes and technologies to address climate change, enhance air and water quality, and progress toward a more sustainable, circular economy.

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