EPA hears divergent opinions on chemical recycling

Read the full story at Plastics Recycling Update.

If a process breaks down scrap plastics into chemicals that are later used to make new plastic, should the federal government consider that “recycling?” What if the end product is a fuel that is combusted?

Those are just a couple of the plastics-related questions the U.S. EPA is grappling with as it seeks to define exactly what “recycling rate” will mean. Last fall, the agency released a national recycling rate goal of 50% by 2030. Using current methodologies, the EPA estimates the U.S. has a 32% recycling rate.

But the EPA is considering changing the calculation methodology. In particular, the agency is examining which sources of material, types of materials, management pathways and destinations to count. Not surprisingly, among the 108 comments from different recycling industry stakeholders, advice differed dramatically.

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