US EPA considering new regulation for plastic chemical recycling plants

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Mixed plastics
Mixed plastics

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun a process that may lead to new regulation for plastic chemical recycling plants.

In a notice in the US Federal Register, the EPA is soliciting information and inviting comments on potential future regulation on pyrolysis and gasification plants, including those used to chemically recycled plastics.

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As present, there is no specific regulation applying to these facilities, but they come under a more general category of solid waste incineration units in the Clear Air Act (CAA).

The notice said: “As a result of recent market trends, especially with respect to plastics recycling, the EPA has received several inquiries about regulations under CAA section 129 for solid waste incineration units and the applicability of such regulations to pyrolysis and gasification units for a variety of process and feedstock types.”

In the notice, it added that most pyrolysis and gasification facilities in the US are at a demonstrator stage, rather than commercial scale and it may need new regulations for this emerging industry.

The EPA noted that plastic chemical recycling facilities may come under the solid waste incineration units categorisation, but could also come under plastics/rubber recycling units that have different emissions rules. While it said some emissions come out of pyrolysis and gasifications plants, it wants more information about whether specific regulation is required for these facilities.

It listed nine facilities in the US that it is aware of that are seeking to use chemical recycling to treat mixed plastics.

Those companies that wish to respond to the request for information have until 8 November 2021 to do so.

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