Kentucky passes advanced recycling law for plastic waste, becoming 18th US state to do so; bill regulates advanced recycling operations as manufacturers instead of as solid waste disposal

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WASHINGTON , April 1, 2022 (press release) –

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Yesterday Kentucky’s Governor Andy Beshear signed H.B. 45 into law, which will attract jobs to the state while enabling more plastics to be remade over and over again.

The law was passed overwhelmingly in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, making Kentucky the 18th state to enact legislation that recognizes the important benefits of advanced recycling. H.B. 45 will appropriately regulate advanced recycling technologies as manufacturing operations rather than solid waste disposal, supporting investments in advanced recycling facilities and high-quality jobs for Kentucky residents.  

Advanced recycling is a manufacturing process that leverages chemistry to convert used plastic into top-quality new plastics. Through these modern technologies, many more types of plastics can be recycled compared to traditional recycling. Thanks to advanced recycling, even mixed and soiled plastics can be remade into new plastics approved for food, pharmaceutical and medical use. A 2021 report by Closed Loop Partners estimates advanced recycling could double the plastics packaging recycling rate in the U.S. and Canada by 2030.

“It’s a great endorsement for advanced recycling technologies when lawmakers from different sides of the aisle overwhelmingly agree on bringing advanced recycling to their state,” said Joshua Baca, vice president of plastics at the American Chemistry Council (ACC). “Passage of this bipartisan law is not surprising—advanced recycling will help bring jobs to Kentucky, reduce landfill material, and curtail greenhouse gas emissions as less raw materials will be needed to make new plastics.”

The legislation was sponsored by Representative Adam Bowling, who said, “This legislation has the opportunity to convert plastic waste to new products in a repeatable loop. This technology can be a gamechanger and help put Kentucky on the map as a leader in sustainable technologies. Reducing plastic waste, while simultaneously creating new jobs, is a win-win opportunity that will improve the lives of all Kentuckians.”

The Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM) was one of the leading supporters of the legislation. “On behalf of Kentucky’s manufacturers, we are grateful to Rep. Adam Bowling and the General Assembly for passing this common-sense legislation that will grow jobs and be good for the environment, and we thank Governor Andy Beshear for signing the bill,” said Frank Jemley, KAM’s Executive Director. “This is yet another important example of a growing reality:  manufacturing and environmentalism can and do go hand-in-hand. It won’t be the last.”

ACC applauds Governor Beshear and Kentucky’s lawmakers for promoting environmental sustainability and economic opportunities for Kentuckians.

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the multibillion-dollar business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products, technologies and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health, safety and security performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy addressing major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. ACC members and chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development, and are advancing products, processes and technologies to address climate change, enhance air and water quality, and progress toward a more sustainable, circular economy. 

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