Last week, Michigan's House and Senate passed House Bills 4454 and 4456. Tucked in amongst recycling and waste reforms intended to divert waste from landfills and increase the state's recycling rate was a provision to exempt pyrolysis and gasification from solid waste regulations, and to re-name them as "chemical recycling.” These are highly controversial technologies that are currently regulated as incinerators, and thus subjected to regulation to limit community and environmental impacts. The exemption of the technologies would likely facilitate a flood of new polluting facilities in already impacted Michigan communities.
The problem is chemical recycling isn't recycling at all–it's just another method to burn plastic. Worse yet, green flagging this unproven, untested technology could seriously harm communities and the environment. According to a 2022 report from Natural Resources Defense Council, chemical recycling releases chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer, neurological damage, or other serious health effects like birth defects – and most are sited in communities that are disproportionately Black, Brown, Indigenous, and low-income, adding to environmental injustices.
Please join us in urging Governor Whitmer to protect Michiganders and our environment by vetoing House Bills 4454 - 4456. In order to address the plastics pollution crisis, we need proven solutions that uplift, not harm, communities, and that do not perpetuate the harmful impacts caused by the continued extraction of fossil fuels and production of plastics.
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