Tell Congress: Burning plastic is NOT recycling

Tell Congress: Burning plastic is NOT recycling

Imagine truckload upon truckload of plastic waste being shoveled into a fire, burned because we have nowhere else to put it. Acrid smoke rises from the scorched trash, releasing a host of nasty chemicals.

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“Chemical recycling” is just burning plastic.

Would you call that recycling? Because the petrochemical and plastics industries would.

Industry players want to label the process of incinerating plastic as “chemical recycling” or “advanced recycling,” in an attempt to fool us into thinking it’s good for the planet.

We need to take action to tell Congress: Burning plastic is NOT recycling.

This will lead to more hazardous air pollution and health risks.

The plastics industry and the American Chemistry Council are pushing legislation in Congress that would reclassify incineration as “advanced recycling.” Classifying plastic incinerators as “advanced recycling” would allow them to avoid Clean Air Act requirements, taking an insidious part of our waste disposal and sweeping it under the rug.1

There’s no easy way out of the mountains of plastic trash humans have generated. We especially should not burn plastic as the solution.

If the plastics industry gets its way, this would perpetuate the cycle of waste in our country, allowing companies to keep producing more and more plastic that would eventually be dumped into an incinerator.

And it would create yet another source of hazardous air pollution that will fill the skies with the smell of burnt garbage. Burning plastic releases dioxins, a highly toxic type of air pollution that can lead to cancer, damage the immune system and cause reproductive issues.2,3

Take action to say “no” to burning plastic.

We need real solutions to deal with the plastic waste piling up in our oceans and landfills. An obvious one is to ban the single-use plastics that we use for a few minutes and then go on to pollute our environment for centuries.

Allowing plastic incinerators to go unregulated would be like throwing lighter fluid on the plastic flames.

We can stop companies from getting away with burning plastic. The first step is to make sure incineration is not treated like recycling.

Take action to oppose calling burning plastic “recycling.”

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  1. Elizabeth Claire Alberts, “Experts decry ‘funny math’ of plastics industry’s ‘advanced recycling’ claims,” Mongabay, September 28, 2022.
  2. Joe Brock, Valerie Volcovici and John Geddie, “The Recycling Myth,” Reuters, July 29, 2021.
  3. Learn about Dioxin,” Environmental Protection Agency, last accessed September 29, 2022.