Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed chemical recycling legislation favored by the plastics industry on Dec. 22, turning back calls by environmental groups that wanted her to veto it.
The American Chemistry Council praised Whitmer's decision, saying the new law will encourage more investment in plastics recycling infrastructure, while opponents said it would increase environmental pollution. They promised to heighten oversight of the facilities.
Michigan is now the 21st state in the last five years to pass the industry-backed legislation, which says such facilities will be regulated as manufacturing operations rather than as solid waste incinerators. ACC calls the technology "advanced recycling."
"Advanced recycling diverts plastics from landfills, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and use of natural resources to create new plastics compared to conventional manufacturing methods and creates new jobs and revenue streams," said Joshua Baca, ACC's vice president of plastics. "This new legislation can showcase Michigan's leadership in plastics recycling."
The chemical recycling language was a late and controversial addition within a much bigger package of solid waste and recycling reforms that passed the state Legislature in early December.
Green groups, which supported much of the broader package, sent a letter to Whitmer Dec. 12 urging her to veto it after the chemical recycling changes were added. Legislators passed the package in the closing days of the session in early December.