By ALEX MALM
While enabling legislation that would allow “advanced recycling” passed the Senate, it was announced on Tuesday afternoon that the House wouldn’t be taking up the …
By ALEX MALM
While enabling legislation that would allow “advanced recycling” passed the Senate, it was announced on Tuesday afternoon that the House wouldn’t be taking up the issue this year.
“The House will not be considering legislation (H 8089/S 2788A) this year that adds advanced recycling as a definition for refuse disposal. We are a member-driven body and our members have spoken to us loudly and clearly that they have serious unresolved questions about this bill,” said Speaker Joseph Shekarchi and House Majority Leader Chris Blazejewski in a statement. “We have had the best year ever regarding environmental legislation and we do not want to take a step backward by passing this bill. As examples, we have passed, or are about to pass, legislation that establishes the strongest renewable energy standard in the country, increases renewable energy production and supply, increases offshore wind capacity, reduces the use of plastic bags, removes harmful ‘forever chemicals’ in our water and packaging, and invests hundreds of millions of dollars to support climate resilience and the green and blue economy. We enacted the landmark Act on Climate legislation last year, and really kept the momentum rolling in our session which is wrapping up this week.”
While some are opponents of the legislation, SCraig Cookson, Senior Director Plastics Sustainability, American Chemistry Council said on Tuesday that the legislation would still require that advanced recycling get approval from the Department of Environmental Management and would still be subject to air emission standards.
Cookson said the state and country as a whole does a good job of recycling things like soda and water bottles, detergent bottles, and bleach bottles but when it comes to other plastics there isn’t enough of it happening.
“Advanced recycling enables us to recycle these plastics by breaking them back down to their basic molecule components,” said Cookson.
Cookson said that advanced recycling doesn’t combust or burn the plastics.
“There's little to no oxygen in these processes,” said Cookson.
Cookson also noted that advanced recycling would help with the problem of the landfilling being close to its capacity. If that were to happen recycling could be processed through the advance recycling system and wouldn’t have to be shipped off to other states.
“It would enable Rhode Islanders to recycle greater amounts or more types of plastics than they currently can now,” said Cookson.
Cookson explained that many companies that the American Chemistry Council represents have made a commitment that by 2040 100 percent of plastic packaging will be reused, recycled and recovered.
“Rhode Island is a very attractive state for companies to put down roots and build up this technology,” said Cookson.
Cookson said that the facilities would be regulated.
There is also the economic side of the equation Cookson said, saying that the facilities would create good high paying jobs.
“It would create economic development in Rhode Island and help extend the life of the landfill as well,” said Cookson.
Asked how many jobs a facility would be projected to create, Cookson said that it would depend on the size and scale.
Cookson pointed out that there are companies that are interested in bringing facilities to Rhode Island.
“We're talking about millions of dollars in economic opportunities,” said Cookson.
Cookson said that this isn’t the first year that the proposal has come up.
“There's definitely been an interest in a few years now,” said Cookson.
It was pointed out by Cookson that 19 other states have passed similar legislation with the most recent one being New Hampshire earlier this month.