State’s Largest Employer Groups Ask NJ Legislators to Support Innovative Solutions to Address Plastic Waste


TRENTON — Saying we need new, innovative solutions to address plastic waste, a statewide coalition of New Jersey’s leading business organizations sent a letter to lawmakers today asking them to support Advanced Recycling technology in the Garden State.


The state’s largest employer groups, representing hundreds of thousands of workers, are advocating for Advanced Recycling technology “as an integral step toward developing a sustainable, circular manufacturing economy”. To date, 25 other states have passed legislation to enable this technology to address plastic waste, of which only 9% is currently recycled.


The following organizations are in support of expanding Advanced Recycling technology in New Jersey:


—Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey

—Chemistry Council of New Jersey

—Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey

—New Jersey Business & Industry Association

—New Jersey Chamber of Commerce

—New Jersey Food Council


The letter follows below:


Dear legislators:


As leaders from across New Jersey, we support our state taking additional measures to expand advanced recycling technology as an integral step toward developing a sustainable, circular manufacturing economy. New Jersey has a long history of being a national leader in recycling but recently we have fallen behind other states in attracting new innovative technologies, particularly to address plastic waste.


While plastics are widely used in our everyday lives, many types are difficult to recycle with current mechanical technologies alone. Existing recycling facilities can shred items like water bottles and milk jugs but can’t take on complex plastics like Astroturf or mixed materials like most food packaging. As a result, only about 9% of plastics are ever recycled so the items we throw away typically end up in landfills or incinerators. Without new solutions, growing demand for plastics will continue to compound this challenge. 


Addressing plastic waste is a tough problem, but New Jerseyans know how to come together to adopt innovative solutions. Advanced recycling utilizes unique modern techniques that don’t just grind plastics into pellets but breaks them down into their basic raw materials which are chemically indistinguishable from new plastics. This means that they could be reused in all kinds of new high-quality products and packaging. Advanced recycling complements our existing recycling programs by introducing manufacturing processes that expand the types of complex plastics that can be recycled.


Building a more robust circular economy is the right thing to do for New Jersey. By reusing more of the everyday plastics we depend on, instead of sending them to a landfill, we can protect our environment and develop a new industry that will create jobs and strengthen our economy. That’s why 25 states have adopted measures that encourage the growth of the advanced recycling industry. As a result, the industry has created more than 40 projects since 2017, representing over $7 billion in investment and diverting nearly 9 million metric tons of waste from US landfills. 


Many familiar brands are beginning to incorporate recycled complex plastics into their packaging and products. Unfortunately, that economic activity – and the thousands of potential jobs supporting the industry that come with it – could bypass New Jersey for other states if we don’t take action to foster growth in the industry here.


Advanced recycling also significantly decreases carbon emissions from plastics production and offsets demand for new crude oil, which would make it an important tool for New Jersey to reach its ambitious net-zero emissions goals. New Jerseyans take pride in preserving our environment and ecosystems. Millions of visitors come to our state each year to enjoy nature and share outdoor experiences with friends and loved ones. The urgency to build a circular economy should be driven by our shared responsibility to preserve this great asset for future generations.


Like so many other major issues, New Jersey has the experienced workforce and innovative industries to tackle plastic waste. New Jersey needs to do its part and should eagerly join states like Michigan, Illinois and Virginia that have adopted rules leveling the playing field for advanced recycling. 




Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey 

Chemistry Council of New Jersey 

Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey

New Jersey Business & Industry Association

New Jersey Chamber of Commerce

New Jersey Food Council 



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