Missouri has become the 20th state to adopt chemical recycling legislation, with Gov. Mike Parson signing HB-2485 into law July 1.
A news release from the American Chemistry Council, which backed the new law and refers to the technology as advanced recycling, said it means the state will now regulate the plastics recycling operations as manufacturing plants, rather than as solid-waste facilities.
Advocates for the technology say it allows for plastics to be repeatedly recycled, increases circularity for hard-to-recycle plastics such as films and wrappers and can make it easier to reuse plastics in food, pharmaceutical and medical applications.
They say it will lead to investment and jobs in the state.
"Over the past five years, 40 percent of states in this country have signed advanced recycling legislation into law, demonstrating that recognition of these innovative technologies and their immense potential is rapidly growing," said Chris Jahn, president and CEO of ACC. "Advanced recycling diverts plastics from landfills, decreases greenhouse gas emissions, and helps create new jobs and revenue streams. In other words, advanced recycling keeps more plastics out of the environment and in the economy."
Environmental groups in Missouri, however, see the process as producing toxic emissions.
In an article posted by the Missouri Independent, Bridget Sanderson, state director for Environment Missouri said, "It's just the science isn't quite there, and there's of course a lot of greenhouse gas emissions … and toxics that are coming out of these facilities as well."
Environmental groups argue for cutting back on plastic use.
"Nothing we should use — coffee cup or anything — for a few minutes should be lasting on this planet for hundreds of years," Sanderson said.
The legislation signed by Parson, a Republican, said that the state could not go further than federal regulations around hazardous waste.