Tue Mar 21
If China isn’t taking our plastics anymore, how do we recycle it at home? Advanced recycling sounds like a big step in the right direction as it takes our plastic trash and turns it into new plastic or fuel. Here’s the catch though: It’s a toxic process.
Advanced recycling essentially uses heat and chemicals to “cook” plastics into new plastic products, even fuel. The more obvious downside is that it doesn’t actually decrease our appetite for plastic. As it is, global plastic recycling rates sit at a measly 9% with the US coming in at 5%. That doesn’t inspire confidence in plastic recycling as a solution, but what’s keeping environmentalists up at night right now is the decreasing regulation of advanced recycling facilities.
States are relaxing regulations instead of tightening them, allowing hazardous fumes to be emitted, including benzene, lead, cadmium, and chromium. By classifying advanced recycling facilities as manufacturing rather than solid waste facilities, states are allowing these companies to avoid Clean Air Act emissions limits. Utah was the 22nd state to classify advanced recycling as manufacturing rather than solid waste and Illinois is considering the same.
Unsurprisingly, these advanced recycling plants disproportionately affect communities of color and low-income (who don’t have the wealth and access to resources including legal services to put up real resistance). The hazardous waste produced are known carcinogens and can cause birth defects among other issues. The EPA has been called on by Democratic lawmakers last month to increase regulation of the plastic industry as a whole, but any bills will face hurdles in the House of Representatives as it is Republican controlled.
BELOW THE FOLD BYTES
Insurance Reckons With Inflation
With recent destructive weather, supply chain issues, labor shortages, and inflation, it may have crossed your mind that rebuilding a damaged property may be more expensive now than even just a year ago. What this means in reality is that insurance claims are taking a lot longer as companies are requiring more proof that things really do cost that much more. Additionally, insurance companies are losing a lot of money paying far more than expected to replace lost/damaged property. Paint costs 26% more, glass 12%, and the diesel to run work trucks 60%! It’s likely that many companies will do more to prevent losses now rather than rely on insurance payouts.
If Roads Could Talk, They’d Save Us Money
A new sensor will soon hit the market that directly embeds in a concrete pour to then provide precise and consistent data on the concrete’s strength and need for repair. But it doesn’t take years for the sensors to be useful. The embedded sensors can tell construction teams whether or not the newly poured concrete is ready to accommodate road traffic or if it needs more time to cure. When cars hit a road that isn’t ready for it, premature failures occur and this leads to frequent repair needs. These repairs create traffic jams, which costs us 4 billion hours and 3 billion gallons of gas annually. Indiana and Texas have already signed up for these talking roads.
🎬 Action of the Week
Keep tabs on your local area's policies for advanced plastic recycling/chemical recycling and learn more about it with GAIA.
THIS WEEK'S SOURCES
- Waste Today Magazine: Illinois May Reclassify Advanced Recycling Facility 3 minutes long | 1 week ago
- Waste Today Magazine: Utah To Regulate Advanced Recycling As Manufacturers 2 minutes long | 3 days ago
- CEN: Chemical Recycling Isn't Recycling? 11 minutes long | 10 months ago
- Politico: Policy Fight Against Chemical Recycling 6 minutes long | 3 months ago
- OECD: Plastic Recycling Rates 4 minutes long | 1 year ago
- AP: Advanced Recycling Debate 7 minutes long | 5 months ago
- Waste Dive: Lawmakers Call on EPA for Tighter Regulation of Plastics Industry 2 minutes long | 1 month ago
ASCII-ING ABOUT THE NEWS
Art by Hayley Jane Wakenshaw ______ /|_||_\`.__ ( _ _ _\ =`-(_)--(_)-' hjw
Elm Street says we should take the compact car today.
Art Credit: asciiart.eu