Sep 26

Plastics Weekly: U.S. Recycles Just 5% of Plastic Waste, Studies Find

Editorial Staff
May 11, 2022
plastics weekly

Welcome to the Plastics Weekly, NEO’s regular news monitoring of the plastics industry.

Every week, we publish a roundup of the top developments in plastics and sustainability – from regulatory changes to company news.

This week’s highlights:

  • Only 5% of plastic waste in the U.S. gets recycled, according to an Energy Department report released last week. In parallel, environmental advocacy groups Last Beach Cleanup and Beyond Plastics found that there was a 5-6% recycling rate for post-consumer plastic waste in the U.S. for 2021. Experts tie the problem to the fact that plastics use has increased, but recycling infrastructure, technology and education have not been able to keep pace. (Wall Street Journal)
  • ExxonMobil and other major oil and chemical companies are doubling down on “advanced recycling” claims that have yielded few results. The companies have been accused of misleading the public on the promise of plastic recycling, even as environmental advocates say it’s more of the same greenwash. In late April, California’s attorney general launched an investigation into ExxonMobil for its role in exacerbating the global plastic pollution crisis. (The Guardian)
  • Oil major bp has signed a ten-year offtake agreement with Clean Planet Energy, a U.K.-based developer of facilities to convert hard-to-recycle waste plastics into circular petrochemical feedstocks and ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD). Clean Planet Energy designs and builds what it calls ecoPlants that can process plastics that would otherwise be sent to landfill or incineration. Under the new agreement, bp will receive the output of Clean Planet Energy’s first facility, currently under construction in Teesside in the north-east of England, which will be able to process 20,000 tonnes of waste plastics into naphtha and ULSD per year. (Chemical Engineering)
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