U.S. EPA assesses chemical recycling regulations

The headquarters of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington, DC, US REUTERS / Andrew Kelly

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 (Reuters) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to regulate chemical recycling, a controversial technology that aims to convert mixed plastic waste into fuel or energy.

In its notice published earlier this month in the Federal Register, the EPA said it wanted more information on pyrolysis and gasification, also known as advanced or chemical recycling, and was considering how it could be regulated by under the Federal Air Quality Act.

“The Agency believes that there is considerable confusion in the regulated community regarding the applicability of Section 129 of the Clean Air Act to pyrolysis and gasification units,” said the Federal Register notice.

Advanced recycling facilities aim to convert hard-to-recycle plastics, solid waste, biomass, tires and other forms of waste into fuels or energy using high heat and solvents, and have been promoted by industries petrochemical and plastic as a means of treating Plastic waste.

A Reuters survey earlier this year, however, found that many of those facilities don’t handle much waste. Reuters examined 30 projects from two dozen leading recycling companies on three continents and found that most are still operating on a small scale or have closed their doors, and more than half are years behind announced business plans. previously.

The American Chemistry Council has urged U.S. lawmakers to pass legislation that would encourage advanced recycling, and 14 U.S. states have passed advanced recycling laws that would exempt chemical recycling facilities from solid waste and recycling laws. .

The EPA said it was preparing a “detailed questionnaire” to obtain information from dozens of pilot and larger scale pyrolysis and gasification units, including date of construction, date of start-up. , air emissions, pollution control equipment and project design.

The comment period will end on November 8.

Reporting by Valerie Volcovici Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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