The Plastics Industry Association is developing a recycling infrastructure financing plan that could raise some of the billions of dollars needed to pay for it and as an alternative to legislation in California and elsewhere and to provide a "fair funding mechanism" for tackling waste challenges.
While it's far from clear what details would be in the association's proposal, CEO Tony Radoszewski said in a Sept. 24 interview that the board of the Washington-based group discussed it at a meeting the previous week and would like to release its plan in coming months.
He said pressure from governments is building.
"If we don't do it, it's going to be forced on us some way or another," Radoszewski said. "We've already seen that in legislation in California, in New Jersey, up in the Northeast. It just makes sense for us to lead."
He said it's too soon to discuss specific funding mechanisms but said the cost could run into the billions of dollars, and he noted a $9 billion cost estimate from The Recycling Partnership to upgrade infrastructure. That's significantly larger than the $500 million in federal tax dollars over five years contained in the Recover Act, legislation supported by the association.
He pointed to far-reaching plastics packaging legislation in California, Senate Bill 54, that narrowly failed in August. It would have required a 75 percent recycling or composting rate for single-use plastics and some foodservice items. Radoszewski said the association wants to present alternatives.
"I don't know if we could do this before the election or certainly before the end of the year, to have a proposal that we could bring to, whether it's California and SB-54, or just an overall process that might even be widely accepted at the federal level," he said.
"It would have a fair funding mechanism so that the infrastructure can be built, research can continue and technology is developed that will hopefully dramatically increase recycling rates of plastic and to find the materials that are best for secondary use," Radoszewski said.