Iowa and Tennessee legislatures pass bills in support of plastics recovery

American Chemistry Council says passage helps support emerging chemical recycling facilities.

The Iowa House and Senate have passed Senate File 534 and the Tennessee House and Senate have passed Senate Bill 0923 in support of advanced recycling facilities that convert plastic scrap into raw material using pyrolysis or chemical recycling.

“In passing SF 534 and SB 0923, Iowa and Tennessee become the most recent states to create a welcoming environment for businesses to convert more postconsumer plastics into valuable raw materials, keeping more of our plastic resources out of landfills,” states Craig Cookson, senior director of recycling and recovery, The American Chemistry Council’s (ACC's) Plastics Division. “Iowa and Tennessee join Florida, Wisconsin and Georgia in passing such legislation, reinforcing states’ growing recognition of the economic and environmental benefits of reusing our plastic resources.”

The legislation defines pyrolysis—a process that converts postconsumer polymers into fuels, chemical feedstock, waxes or resin pellets—and pyrolysis facilities as being separate from solid waste disposal facilities.

“We applaud Rep. Sorenson and Sen. Brown in Iowa and Rep. Hulsey and Sen. Southerland in Tennessee for their leadership in sponsoring such important legislation, and we urge Iowa Gov. Reynolds and Tennessee Gov. Lee to sign these bills into law,” Cookson states.

A report released in March by the ACC, Washington, found that expanding advanced recycling technologies has a potential $10 billion impact in the U.S. The passage of legislation in the five states is “helping to support implementation of these innovative technologies," Cookson states.

In Iowa, converting 25 percent of the state's postconsumer plastics into feedstocks and transportation fuels could support five advanced recycling and recovery facilities and generate $309 million in economic output annually, according to ACC.

In Tennessee, converting postconsumer plastics into transportation fuel could power an estimated 219,000 vehicles per year. Converting 25 percent of the state’s postconsumer plastics into manufacturing feedstock and transportation fuels could support eight advanced recycling and recovery facilities and generate $264 million in economic output per year.

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