Bill addressing Alaska’s plastic waste recycling future passes House, moves to Senate

22
881

The Alaska House Majority passed House Bill 143, legislation aimed at the need for dealing with plastic waste across Alaska.

Roughly 90% of plastics currently recycled or sorted at landfills are not suitable for mechanical recycling. That leaves 10% of plastics that are actually recycled.

Advanced recycling, with chemical processes like pyrolysis and gasification, transforms plastics that cannot be recycled through traditional means into new, high-value plastics, chemicals, and other products, revolutionizing our approach to plastic waste management. That is not available in Alaska — yet. But HB 143 anticipates that eventuality and starts the regulatory framework that would allow it, relaxing some environmental rules pertaining to air quality.

“This is a strategic framework not only for our environment but also for the economic prosperity of our state, as an advanced recycling facility would create jobs, generate revenue, and stimulate economic activity. HB 143 strikes a balance, offering innovative solutions that work without heavy government subsidies,” said bill sponsor Rep. Tom McKay. It’s a way to keep plastics out of landfills that are filling up in communities, he said.

With the designation of the Department of Environmental Conservation to develop manufacturing regulations related to advanced recycling, the hope is that the private sector will look for opportunities in Alaska.

The American Chemistry Council supports the bill. “Changing the way plastics are made and remade is a top priority for America’s plastic makers. We’ve set an ambitious goal for all US plastic packaging to be reused, recycled, recovered by 2040, and we are working towards this goal by supporting systems and technologies that remake new plastics from used plastics.”

The vote to pass the bill was 23-13, and it will now be considered by the Alaska Senate.

22 COMMENTS

  1. Usually the Green agenda is opposed by conservatives. Why are so many Republican politicians in Alaska supporting this bill?

    One argument against the bill is that the reason we have not seen a desire for these kind of economic activities in Alaska is not because it is illegal (fundamentally, it isn’t), but because it is not economical. Like so much of the Green agenda, new legislation like this won’t make it economical.

    When the local cleaners down the street supports the girls basketball team at the local high school you could argue that they are undercutting their bottom line. You might ask why a business would ever allow their profits to be reduced. Actually, there are many reasons a business might support a local sports team. Perhaps by sponsoring the team they get their name out in front of potential customers. Perhaps their current customers will be grateful and respond with greater loyalty to the business. Perhaps their competition is a national chain not particularly known for community involvement and sponsoring the sports team is a way for the business to distinguish itself from the competition. Perhaps the reason is simply because the owner’s son or daughter plays on the team.

    In short, there are many incentives for businesses and industries to do things today that do not necessarily involve providing products and services that are better or cheaper or faster. These decisions, though they are not strictly economical, may yet benefit the business or industry long term. Enter the Green agenda.

    From the article: “We’ve set an ambitious goal for all US plastic packaging to be reused, recycled, recovered by 2040…”

    Is this a realistic goal? Does it pencil out? Likely no.

    Do the chemical processes highlighted in this legislation pencil out? Likely no.

    Net zero, ending the use of fossil fuels, and other aspects of the Green Agenda aren’t necessarily bad goals, in and of themselves. A business can essentially set whatever lawful goals they want to. If they want to go “all in” on alternative energy they can. Wind energy is, after all, a form of energy. Where these goals often fall apart economically is the misallocation of investment resources. If you misallocate enough finite resources eventually you go out of business (or become dependent on government subsidies).

    Whenever political considerations begin to trump sound economics you have a problem. Essentially, this bill purports to set aside sound economics in order to bolster the image of the chemical industry, an industry that has been under siege by the environmentalists.

    The argument with respect to this particular piece of legislation is that, like so many other aspects of the Green Agenda, we do not yet possess the technology to make this type of recycling pencil out. Will we ever? Who knows.

    Even so, it is politically profitable for the chemical industry to engage in a bit of virtue signaling from time to time, and passing HB143 has all the appearances of being part of that effort.

    We should acknowledge that. We should also acknowledge that this legislation may “green” Alaska’s statutes a bit, but it is unlikely to do anything to actually improve the environment.

    In all likelihood, if the activity contemplated by this bill were ever to take place in Alaska its net effect on the environment would be negative.

    Again, why are Republican politicians supporting a bill to “green” Alaska’s statutes, and in Alaska of all places?

    • Great analysis, shows why you belong in the Legislature.
      Notice how the sponsor uses clever emotional language to conjure up false images while being technically true. “Plastics out of landfills that are filling up in our communities,” creates images of overflowing waste bins and crisis. Yes, landfills in communities fill up. That what they do.

      And when they are full, you simply build another – believe it or not, there is undeveloped space in Alaska. Just as high modern gold prices cause prospectors to pick over 100 year old tailing piles; if in the distant future its profitable to recycle plastic, it will still be there waiting. No special rule bending, tax breaks or subsidies required. Admittedly, not as much fun for legislators like McCabe though.

    • Representative Eastman, while we are asking questions why is it that you so often align with the Democrats while casting aspersions on Republicans?

      • Steve-O, if that was really true, you would not be attacking him. If it were really true, you’d be giving him kudos and thanking him for sticking up for all that is evil.

        • Ginny,

          What?

          If what was true? That he frequently aligns with Democrats…that is true. That he frequently casts aspersions on his fellow Republicans…that is also true. Those aren’t attacks, they are statments of facts, and why would I give him kudos for sticking up for all evil?

          • You either really struggle with simple concepts, or just enjoy spewing crap to deceive people.

            This bill relaxes air quality regulations – but only for the recycling industry.
            Some Democrats are opposed to relaxing environmental standards for any reason – so they opposed the bill.

            Eastman opposes it because it creates a special regulatory carve out for the recycling scam. If the air quality regulations are so meaningless that they can be waived, they should be waived for all, not just the plastic reprocessing racket. Air pollutants don’t care how they were generated, either they are dangerous – or they aren’t.

            This is good government from Eastman.

          • Apu,

            You should be happy with Representative Eastmans all or nothing style then, well as long as you are happy with nothing that is because that’s all he ever delivers for his constituents.

    • Here’s another thought also: what is the majority of plastic made from? “The majority of plastic products are made using a petroleum base.” (www.greenmatters.com/p/how-plastic-made) It is amazing how nearly everything that the rinos and democrats do ties in together so nicely without the majority of people even realizing it. The plan to take down the world was in the making for years and years and the controllers thought of just about everything. I wonder if they knew, throughout the years, how strong the will was of the people to save humanity and obey our Heavenly Father’s commandments?

    • Keeping God’s green earth healthy is vital for future generations because biological life depends upon it and so do humans. Recycling, keeping our lands and waters clean is a sure way to get to heaven.

  2. You make a valid point. They are not even recycling much plastic anywhere because it is too expensive, and the current process creates more pollution than creating it from scratch. Most of the plastic is compacted, pallotized, and shipped overseas where poor countries are paid to receive it. It’s stacking up in these places because nothing further is done with it. In Alaska, most recyclables end up in the general landfill with everything else, but it seems to make people feel better when they sort it out first. It’s nothing but a show put on for stupid people. And the manufacturers of these products spend a fortune advertising about how easy it is to recycle plastic. A reduction of plastic packaging is the only solution to the problem. The industry doesn’t want this. Biodegradable materials are another way, but are still very expensive. If the government wants a solution to this problem, then regulation of packaging would be the best way, especially in Alaska, where everything is shipped in but nothing is shipped out. And plastic shopping bags are not the real problem. At least they can be reused, unlike water and beverage containers. Back in the days of glass bottles, we had bottling companies in Alaska. Soda bottles were refilled and local jobs created with a good environmental impact.

  3. We need a smelter at pt mc for all the scrap steel and other metals we have sitting everywhere around here. We are very capable of making rough iron products like rebar and ball mill balls right here at home with the massive amount of scrap vehicles and equipment we have scattered everywhere. A smelter would be a fantastic environmentally good thing to build. Unless you like rusting old oil dripping cars sitting In every brush patch around here.

  4. Whatever happened to the recycling programs that we had in place? They did not work out. How about if we just quit using plastic to the extent that we are using it? Microplastics are now in all of our bloodstreams and in all of our organs.

      • Lol I know. That is how tricky the evil has become and how long they have been working on this plan to take down the world. We could start by quit letting Chyna manufacture everything for the world. We could start by making products in our own countries using materials that will last longer than the cheaply-made Chyna products.

  5. Well, thank goodness we are taking care of the plastics problem. Meantime, southcentral is running out of natural gas to provide heat and electricity. THIS is the existential threat. Not to mention our fiscal woes of out-of-control state spending, a too large state government and a legislature that is so busy fighting itself that it doesn’t seem to have a clue.

  6. I read an article today that said researchers found microplastics buried in undisturbed sediment dated to the early 1730’s, we didn’t have plastic in the 1730’s. How is that possible? They are finding microplastics in everything everywhere they look, is it possible that the microplastics they are finding aren’t what they think they are?

  7. One day we will be mining old landfills for plastics for reprocessing. But that’s only going to happen when the raw material (oil) becomes too scarce or costly. Until then, let it lay.

Comments are closed.