Statement: PennEnvironment condemns legislation that promotes burning plastics & calls it ‘recycling’

Group calls on Gov. Wolf to veto proposal
For Immediate Release

PHILADELPHIA-- PennEnvironment called on Gov. Tom Wolf Tuesday to veto a newly passed bill that would redefine the term ‘recycling’ in a way that benefits the fossil fuel industry and threatens the health of Pennsylvanians and our environment.  Earlier in the day, the Pennsylvania State Senate passed House Bill 1808, which would promote burning plastics and turning them into crude oil and jet fuels under the guise of "recycling.” HB 1808 would also weaken pollution control standards for facilities where plastic-to-fuel processes take place, while incentivizing the production of more single-use plastic.

PennEnvironment’s Clean Water & Conservation Advocate Stephanie Wein released the following statement in response:

“Governor Wolf should stop Pennsylvania from setting a horrible precedent by misleadingly defining plastic combustion and other practices promoted by HB 1808 as ‘advanced recycling.’ Just like calling a hot dog ‘sushi’ doesn’t make it sushi, calling burning plastics ‘recycling’ doesn’t change what it is: just another way to burn fossil fuels.

This bill classifies expensive, polluting processes such as pyrolysis and gasification that convert plastics to liquid fuel products like fossil-fuel derived jet fuel or crude oil as recycling. We shouldn’t waste time and money on these types of flawed and potentially dangerous waste management approaches. Instead, we should implement safer, proven strategies such as passing policies that limit the use of single-use plastics in the first place.

We know that burning fossil fuels lead to global-warming carbon emissions. The plastics-to-fuel facilities enabled by HB 1808 will only exacerbate our climate-related problems. One project currently being proposed in Pennsylvania would emit an estimated 1.75 million tons of global warming pollution annually - the emissions equivalent of 300,000 cars on the road.

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PennEnvironment is dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help the public make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives. For more information, visit www.PennEnvironment.org.