The Pennsylvania General Assembly should approve legislation designed to help advanced recycling of waste plastics in the state, the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association (PMA) stated in a recent blog post that highlighted the benefits to the state’s economy and environment. House Bill 1808, which was introduced last year by state Rep. Ryan E. Mackenzie (R-Lehigh/Berks), would change the regulatory classification of waste facilities to manufacturing plants, which would encourage investment in the burgeoning recycling industry.
“This is another example of how market-based solutions can create jobs while being good stewards of nature,” PMA President and CEO David N. Taylor said. “Advanced plastics recycling will help reduce litter, in much the same way that natural gas production has helped reduce air pollutants.”
The legislation also clarifies that the new facilities would be fully compliant with all Department of Environmental Protection and Environmental Protection Agency permitting requirements.
The new recycling businesses use a thermal decomposition process (pyrolysis) to transform the plastic waste into feedstock for new products. Pyrolysis occurs in a closed system. No oxygen is burned, and no emissions are created. In the process, the molecular structure of the plastic waste is transformed, and the resulting virgin product can be used as feedstock for other products or even low sulfur fuel.
“While this technology may be new to Pennsylvania, across the country, private companies are already manufacturing post-use plastics at a commercial scale into a versatile mix of new chemicals, feedstocks, products and more environmentally friendly transportation fuels,” said Abby Foster, president of the Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council (PCIC). “For example, Shell Chemicals is using a liquid feedstock made from plastic waste, supplied by Nexus Fuels, in its chemical plant in Norco, LA to make a range of new products.”