By Clean Water & Conservation Advocate Stephanie Wein, PennEnvironment. For Immediate Release Wednesday, November 18, 2020
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.
The US Recycling System Is Garbage (Sierra Magazine, 6/26/19, by Edward Humes) details the many issues in the US’s current recycling system. Most of what you put in the bin doesn’t actually get recycled, and recycling is now coming as a cost to our economy – and it’s all because China stopped accepting our dirty plastics.
Since about 1992, the US has been selling our plastic waste to Asia,
namely China, because it is easier and less costly than processing it
here. Then, the plastic would be processed under lax environmental
conditions, along with much of it being dumped into rivers.
Prior to this offshoring, the US actually had a fairly healthy recycling system. In the ’70s and ’80s, US consumers would clean their recyclables and separate the materials. After we started shipping away this waste, the system deteriorated, as we no longer had to deal with the problem. Nowadays, consumers will throw anything into the recycling bin – from dirty food containers to old furniture. …
WCU Pack It Up – Pass It On
Earth Week: The Donation Drive Begins!
Students, as you sort through your possessions, packing up for the summer months, are you finding items you no longer wish to keep? Before you toss them, consider donating instead! Pack It Up-Pass It On is a campus wide initiative aimed at rescuing and rehoming unwanted clothing and household items. Donation bins have been placed in the lobby areas of all eight traditional and affiliated residence halls as well as the Village Clubhouse. If your items are in good condition, simply deposit them in these conveniently located bins and know that they will find new life and use with someone else! All items will go to a campus yard sale at the start of the fall semester (keep checking back for dates)! The proceeds of the sale will go towards supporting the program for the next year.
Off campus students, open drop off hours will be available to you from 11am to 2pm on Saturday 4/27, 5/4, and 5/11 at the South Campus storage containers. The containers are located in Y Lot by the South Campus Apartments on South Campus Drive. Look for the signs! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. And look for the Pack It Up – Pass It On table at Tuesday’s Earth Fair (donations of smaller items and clothing accepted at this time). Let’s ditch the dumpster WCU!