The NRDC found that of hundreds of announced plants, just eight were either operational or soon-to-be operational, based on official federal and state documents. Five of the eight were engaged in plastic-to-fuel conversion, to create a new low-grade fuel. One of the plastic-to-chemical plants, run by the company Agilyx, in Oregon, theoretically takes waste polystyrene and converts it into styrene, which can then be used to make new polystyrene. The NRDC also found "six of the facilities are in communities that are disproportionately Black or brown," and five are in communities where a disproportionate percentage of households have an income below $25,000, relative to the national average. An estimated 242 million metric tons of plastic waste is generated globally every year, polluting cities and clogging oceans. ['Chemical recycling' of plastic slammed by environmental group]Phthalate-laden bottled water alone makes up 1.5 million tons of plastic each year.
After China instated her ban on importing waste plastics in response to the Trump Organization's destructive trade policies some communities are learning to improvise. Santa Fe County ships nearly all the plastic harvested from the municipal waste stream to Colorado where Denver and Boulder are among the best cities for doing recycling right. In Pueblo, Ecologic Materials Corp. is recycling shrink wrap and adding it to asphalt.
In Nova Scotia, Goodwood Plastic Products Ltd. harvests shopping bags, food containers and peanut butter jars from the municipal waste stream then turns that material into synthetic lumber, wharf timbers, guardrail pilings and agricultural posts.