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Republic Services teams up with polymer recycler Ravago to produce recycled resin

Republic Services, the second biggest waste disposal company in the U.S. after Waste Management Corp., said that it teamed up with polymer recycler and distributor Ravago to create Blue Polymers, LLC, a company “that will develop a network of facilities designed to produce recycled products” to supply manufacturers that buy resin.

The new facilities will utilize recycled polyethylene and polypropylene from Republic Services to create high-quality, recycled resin for consumer packaging and other applications.

The process will convert “high-density polyethylene and polypropylene into fully formulated products for use in both food-grade and non-food-grade sustainable applications,” the statement said.

The four facilities will open over the next four years, beginning in late 2024. Combined, they will produce 300 million pounds per year of recycled plastics, it added.

“Products will include custom-blended and compounded materials for individual customers to help them achieve their sustainability goals and comply with federal, state or local requirements for recycled content,” according to the statement. Ravago will distribute recycled product.

Republic processed during 2022 five million tons of recyclables, including more than 300 million pounds of plastics.

U.S. refiners and petrochemical association ask Environmental Protection Agency for strategy “revision” around plastic pollution.

U.S. refiners and petrochemical companies want the country´s top environment regulator to do “a revision” of its strategies to reduce plastic pollution, according to a statement issued on Aug. 4 by the AFPM (Association of Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers) and that because they are regarded by the association as too focused on the production side of plastics but not so on recycling initiatives.

“To prevent plastic pollution, we encourage (the Environmental Protection Agency) EPA to embrace policies that enable, not hinder, a circular economy for plastics where we use a range of technologies and strategies to recover post-consumer plastic and transform it back into usable materials,” the AFPM statement said.

According to the AFPM, the Draft National Strategy needs a revision because it “places heavy focus on plastic production, even though it is post-consumer management of plastic that is the real issue.”

The strategy of the EPA also doesn´t consider “any meaningful role for advanced recycling,” the AFPM statement added.

Advanced recycling, as a complement to mechanical recycling, should be used because it has "potential to increase recycling rates, help consumer brands meet ambitious recyclability and recycled content targets, reduce plastic pollution” and can also displace virgin plastic resin demand, it said.

“Petrochemical companies support research and development on recycling technologies, enter joint ventures and partnerships for advanced recycling and post-consumer recycled feedstock projects, support municipal recycling facility improvements on collection and sorting, and collaborate elsewhere along the value chain, including on product design to maximize recyclability,” the AFPM statement said.

AFPM, which describes itself as “the leading trade association representing the manufacturers of base petrochemicals that are the essential building blocks for plastic products,” said that it has already timely submitted its observations and recommendations to the EPA as requested.

The EPA, which has the mission to protect health and the environment in the U.S., had published in its website its Draft National Strategy to Prevent Plastic Pollution earlier this year and had given time to interested parties to submit comments until July 31.

“New and innovative approaches are necessary to reduce and recover plastic materials and improve economic, social, and environmental impacts. With input from organizations, EPA identified three key objectives for the strategy,” the EPA said in its website about the draft.

The EPA´s “objective A” is to reduce pollution during plastic production, while “objectives” B and C, involve improving post-use material management.

Petrochemical companies that produce plastic resin have in recent years faced greater scrutiny from environmental organizations and local authorities, particularly related to ocean and river pollution.

Plastic resin producers are also facing what appears as increased regulation at an international level as countries are trying to work together accords. Back in June 2023, there were international meetings aimed at reducing plastic pollution and there was another international meeting scheduled for later this year that may come with a binding agreement.

The second session of the so-called Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee that works on accords around reducing plastic pollution, including marine, ended its June 3, 2023 meeting in Paris with a mandate for the “INC Chair to prepare a zero draft of the agreement ahead of the next session” in Nairobi in November.

Before the pandemic, several authorities across the Americas had enacted bans on some plastics. Then efforts related  to recycling became costlier during the pandemic, analysts said at the time.

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