Stop Making Toxins and Hazardous Waste Under the Guise of “Recycling”

Target: U.S. Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer

Goal: Don’t allow chemical and fossil fuel companies to classify hazardous waste production as “recycling.”

Congress is currently contemplating legislation that would redefine plastic-burning facilities as “chemical recycling” plants. If this plan passes, polluters will be permitted to produce massive amounts of hazardous waste and greenhouse gas emissions under the guise of recycling.

“Chemical recycling” or “advanced recycling” is the process of plastic pyrolysis: the heating of plastic waste in a low or zero-oxygen environment to break down solid plastic into a liquid or a gas form. The process uses a massive amount of fossil fuel energy. The resulting liquid or gas is used almost exclusively as a blending component for industrial fuel. Data collected by the EPA showed that one of these “chemical recycling” plants, in one year alone, created 500,000 pounds of hazardous waste. The waste was shipped off-site, where it was blended with commercial fuel and burned as energy to power industrial incinerators. The main component of the hazardous waste was shown to be benzene, a liquid hydrocarbon designated as a carcinogen. Significant amounts of lead were also shown to be present.

America’s Plastic Makers, an organization made up of chemical and fossil fuel companies, is urging Congress to ease regulations and relax environmental health oversight of “chemical recycling” plants. They want the ability to ramp up single-use plastic production and create facilities that will turn mountains of discarded plastic into hazardous waste and greenhouse gases without limit or government regulation. The real solution to this mountain of plastic is legislation that will disincentivize corporations from increasing the production of single-use plastics.

It is the government’s responsibility to safeguard the health of our population and environment. Sign this petition to demand that Senator Schumer reject any legislation that makes it possible for “chemical recycling” companies to operate without complying with strict environmental health regulations and oversight.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Senator Schumer,

“Chemical” or “Advanced” recycling is not recycling at all. It is the heating of solid plastics until they break down into a liquid or a gas form. This process requires massive amounts of energy. One “chemical recycling” facility can produce as much as 500,000 pounds of hazardous waste in one year. This waste cannot be recycled. It is blended with commercial fuel and burned as energy to power industrial incinerators.

The burning of these dirty and inefficient fuels produces additional toxins which settle into the air we breathe and into the water we drink. The solution to plastic is not the gasification and subsequent burning of it. It is reducing the production of single-use plastic in the first place.

Do not allow legislation to pass that will ease restrictions on “chemical recycling” facilities and lessen the EPA’s obligation to monitor and regulate the pollutants and harmful emissions of these facilities. Instead, I urge you to sponsor and advocate for legislation that disincentivizes and compels manufacturers of single-use plastic to reduce their production and to pay for the responsible management of all hard-to-recycle plastics.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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