Enviros Want FTC Green Guides to Shun ‘Chemical’ Recycling of Plastic Waste

"The plastics industry says heating and treating plastic waste with chemicals enables it to make new plastics. But environmentalists say that process, emitting large amounts of climate and air pollution, isn’t recycling and isn’t green."

"The newest flashpoint in a political battle between environmental groups and the plastics industry over “chemical” or “advanced” recycling has to do with the kinds of claims that can be made and still be truthful with American consumers.

The Federal Trade Commission is weighing its first changes in 10 years to its Green Guides, which establish guidelines for companies’ environmental advertising and labeling claims. The FTC’s review goes far beyond plastic recycling and includes concepts such as “net zero” related to greenhouse gas emissions, biodegradability, sustainability and organic products.

But recycling is front and center in the FTC review, which comes amid a global recognition of a plastic crisis, United Nations negotiations toward a treaty to curb plastic waste and the awareness of the widespread failure of plastic recycling. Tens of millions of Americans still dutifully sort their household plastic to be recycled, even though most of it ends up in landfills or is sent to incinerators.

Plastic manufacturers are also pushing hard now with media, advertising and lobbying campaigns to gain public acceptance of advanced or chemical recycling, which requires new, largely unproven kinds of chemical plants that seek to break down plastic waste with chemicals, high-heat processes, or both, and then turn the waste into feedstocks that can be mixed with fossil fuels or incorporated into new plastic products."

James Bruggers reports for Inside Climate News May 1, 2023.

Source: Inside Climate News, 05/03/2023