What counts as plastics recycling? Fuels vs plastic feedstocks
A lecture will be given online by Cheryl Hogue, Senior Correspondent at Chemical and Engineering News, who is based in Washington, USA.
Abstract: As the tide of plastic waste rises globally, the public in the United States is turning to elected officials for solutions. Legislators in 18 US states have passed laws to encourage the chemical recycling of plastic, also known as advanced recycling. These laws deem chemical recycling facilities to be manufacturers, not waste-handling facilities. This classification can pave the way for government financial incentives and less-stringent regulation. Environmental advocates say the laws promote the processing of discarded plastics into home heating oil or other fuels through processes that are polluting and amount to incineration, which is not recycling as the public understands it. But the chemical industry says market demand for more recycled content in plastic means these recycling facilities are increasingly selling their products to polymer makers for feedstock. The US situation has implications for efforts globally to address the plastics and climate crises and to shift to a circular economy.