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Have you ever cooked a delicious meal like Chef Blair and
then dreaded the cleanup? While we can’t clean the mess for you, we can tell
you which items you can recycle today and, with your help, what items could be
Click this link to visit the “Ultimate Guide to Recycling, Reusing, and Repurposing Plastic Items” to learn more about traditional recycling.
Like Chef Blair, you probably want to recycle post-use
plastics that are not accepted by traditional recycling facilities as well. For
items like meat packaging and plastic wrap, there are advanced recycling and
recovery options that have the capability to repurpose these plastics into
Advanced recycling is a form of recycling that converts post-use plastics into valuable petroleum-based products and fuel. Also known as chemical recycling, this process complements traditional recycling by providing a way to melt down post-use plastics into their basic molecular level to create new products. Because the plastic is heated and melted instead of burned, the emissions from this process are much lower than other industries, such as food processing and auto manufacturing. Advanced recycling has the potential to capture the value of non-traditionally recycled products before they are sent to landfills.
First, plastics that cannot be traditionally recycled are
delivered for processing at an advance recycling and recovery facility. Next,
containments like metal and glass are removed from the plastic stream. Third,
the recovered plastic is heated without oxygen through a process called
pyrolysis which essentially means that the product is melted down into its
basic gaseous state. The gas is then cooled and condensed into oil, fuels,
petroleum products, or back to its original component for new plastics. The
products of advanced recycling and recovery technologies can be used to power
cars, buses, ships, and planes or be sold to manufacturers as a raw material.
Our member companies are committed to reducing the impact
plastic has on the environment. The plastic resin producers have set a goal of
making all plastic recyclable, recoverable, or reusable by 2040. This ambitious
goal is one of the many ways plastic resin producers have gotten involved in
sustainability efforts around the world. Advanced recycling and recovery
technologies will help bring this goal to fruition by providing consumers with
more recycling options for products that would otherwise be sent to the
landfill as well as provide producers with the opportunity to use chemically
recycled products as raw material- reducing the need for new material.
While it may seem like getting rid of plastic altogether might be better for the environment, alternatives to plastic may actually be worse. For one, alternatives to plastic packaging would nearly double greenhouse gas emissions according to a study conducted by Franklin Associates. Alternatives to plastic packaging would also likely increase the amount of solid waste, water consumption, and energy use.
At the end of the day, multiple studies have shown that
plastic packaging is better for the environment. With advanced and traditional
recycling, we can reduce our environmental footprint in many key areas while
responsibly using the benefits of plastic that the alternatives just can’t
Currently, only 8 states (Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin, Iowa, Tennessee, Texas, Illinois and Ohio) have approved the legal framework needed to operate advanced recycling and recovery facilities. In order for a state to have advanced recycling facilities, state laws and regulations must allow for such facilities to be classified as producers of alternative energy or raw materials as opposed to a form of disposal or solid waste. If you are interested in bringing advanced recycling and recovery technologies to your state, please contact your state representatives and let them know. Your call or letter could make the difference in bringing this important issue to their attention.
Science is essential to understanding the world’s most pressing challenges and to overcoming them.
A first-of-its-kind, leading economic indicator that helps anticipate and highlight potential trends in other industries in the U.S.