Groups rally against chemical recycling in New Mexico
Over 70 organizations and companies signed a letter to the governor of New Mexico last week, urging her not to classify chemical recycling as recycling.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, attended the opening of a plastic gas demonstration facility in Los Lunas, NM last year, fueling concern from letter writers.
The terms “chemical recycling” and “advanced recycling” generally refer to a wide range of processes that use heat, pressure and solvents to break down the molecular chains of polymers into liquids or gases, which then become fuels, oils, waxes can be processed. new plastics or other chemical products.
To date, 21 states have enacted laws that classify chemical recycling as manufacturing rather than waste disposal, and are changing the emissions laws governing the processes.
The 78 organizations and companies submitted a letter “calling on the governor to advocate policies that reduce plastic waste at source and protect our families from reckless and uncontrolled sources of pollution.”
Ana Rios, New Mexico field organizer for Moms Clean Air Force, said in a news release that communities “already overburdened by toxic air pollution and environmental injustice are the ones who will face the additional damage from the facilities.”
Alexis Goldsmith, organizational director of Beyond Plastic, called pyrolysis, gasification and solvolysis “false recycling”. Sarah Pierpont, executive director of the New Mexico Recycling Coalition, called them “wrong solutions.”
“Chemical recycling is a diversion that is not part of this circular economy solution, but is an unproven and polluting continuation of our current linear economy,” Pierpont added. “We should focus on plastic source reduction, reuse and expanding the use and capacity of our existing mechanical recycling programs.”
Other signatories include Californians Against Waste, the Center for Biological Diversity, several churches, the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), Greenpeace, Indivisible Albuquerque and Indivisible Santa Fe, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Progressive Democrats of America – Central New Mexico, the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club, The Last Beach Cleanup and The Story of Stuff Project.