Technological watch

Utah Becomes 22nd State to Enact Advanced Recycling Legislation to Help End Plastic Waste

WASHINGTON, DC (March 16, 2023) — The American Chemistry Council (ACC) is pleased to learn Utah has become the first state in the 2023 legislative cycle, and the 22nd state in the country, to adopt legislation that regulates advanced recycling as manufacturing.

With the overwhelmingly bipartisan passage of HB 493, investments in advanced recycling are primed to spread west, along with the green collar jobs and sustainability benefits that come with it.

If Utah converts just 50% of the currently landfilled plastic feedstock in the state, it could generate nearly $156 million in economic output each year and upwards of 600 manufacturing jobs in Utah.

Advanced recycling is a manufacturing process that uses chemistry to enable significantly more plastics to be recycled than traditional recycling technologies, including often hard-to-recycle films and mixed plastics. This helps displace the need for virgin resources to produce new plastics and reduces the amount of plastics destined for landfill and incineration. A 2021 report by Closed Loop Partners estimated that advanced recycling could double the plastics packaging recycling rate in the U.S. and Canada by 2030.

“I’m proud that we’re paving the way for cutting-edge technology to come to Utah so we can have a more sustainable, circular economy and create jobs for our residents,” said Rep. Tim Jimenez, an environmental engineer who sponsored the legislation.

The regulatory certainty provided by HB 493 encourages investments by businesses to build these facilities, which can easily exceed $200 million in capital costs. Additionally, HB 493 will help protect public health and the environment because the regulations applied most appropriately match the operations on the ground.

“Unique to Utah’s new law is that it recognizes independent, third-party certification systems to trace, measure, and verify recycled plastics made from advanced recycling,” said Joshua Baca, vice president of plastics at ACC. “With HB 493’s passage, the United States is another step closer to becoming a global leader in developing a circular economy for plastics.”

ACC applauds Utah’s state legislators and Governor Cox for recognizing the value of advanced recycling and for passing this important legislation.

Publication date: 16/03/2023

American Plastics Council

This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2022-01-31