Chemical recycling of plastics has been discussed for some time. On one side of the argument is the premise that this form of recycling will allow us to reclaim all types of plastics and eliminate consumer confusion when it comes to recycling. This would allow all plastic to be placed in the recycling bins and ultimately recycled.
On the other side of the ledger, the vast majority of the products reclaimed and recycled through the chemical recycling of plastics are essentially fossil fuels. Thus, chemical recycling is just another way to generate fossil fuels. While cleaner than extracting raw materials, the net result is still greenhouse gas emissions.
Of course, the remaining argument against this form of recycling is in two parts.
1. This will encourage the use of plastics, which we know contain toxic chemicals in some cases.
2. The placement of these recycling plants is likely to be in neighborhoods that already face environmental justice burdens.
Not an easy choice…but certainly a decision that should not be rushed.
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Chemical recycling bill sets stage for industry’s battle with environmentalists