March 21, 2023

Bill encouraging 'advanced recycling' heads to Holcomb's desk

Article origination IPB News
Things like toothpaste tubes are often made up of multiple different kinds of plastics and some additives. Chemical recyclers aim to recycle these plastics that often aren't recyclable otherwise. - Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Things like toothpaste tubes are often made up of multiple different kinds of plastics and some additives. Chemical recyclers aim to recycle these plastics that often aren't recyclable otherwise.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

A bill that would encourage companies that chemically recycle plastic to come to Indiana is headed to the governor’s desk.

Things like toothpaste tubes often can’t be recycled because they’re made up of multiple kinds of plastic. Companies like Brightmark in northeast Indiana use heat and chemical processes to break down plastics into materials that can be used again.

Senate Bill 472 regulates those businesses as advanced recycling manufacturers. That means they wouldn’t have to get a solid waste license and could possibly be eligible for state grants.

READ MORE: Bill would encourage 'advanced recycling' in Indiana, but how much gets recycled?

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The bill’s author has said it could help Indiana to reach its goal of recycling half its waste. But a University of Pittsburgh professor questions whether some of these chemical processes should be considered recycling at all.

It’s not clear how much of the waste actually gets recycled and how much fuels the plant or gets flared off as carbon dioxide — a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

Some chemical recyclers also produce a byproduct called “char” which has to be sent to a landfill.

The bill passed the state House on Tuesday with bipartisan support. Rep. Ryan Dvorak (D-South Bend) was the only lawmaker to vote “no.”

Rebecca is our energy and environment reporter. Contact her at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

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