Single Use Plastics Being Banned at Marshall University

by Diana Gooding on January 26, 2021

Marshall University is a state supported institution in Huntington, WV

Marshall University to go plastic-free by 2026

From a Press Release of the Sustainability Program, Marshall University, Huntington, WV, January 25, 2021

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Marshall University has announced it has made a commitment to go plastic-free by 2026. The university joined the “zero waste” movement.

Marshall University President Jerome Gilbert recently signed the ‘Break Free from Plastic Campus Pledge.’ It’s a campus-wide commitment to eliminate all single-use disposable plastics. The pledge specifically addresses accessibility and inclusivity concerns and generates a framework for college campuses and other institutions to develop long-term systemic solutions to issues around waste and disposable consumption.

“Reducing our dependence on disposable plastic is another step forward in our sustainability efforts at Marshall,” said Gilbert. “This is a project the entire Marshall family can rally around and help our community reduce its overall waste products.”

Officials say this initiative was led by the MU Sustainability Club. It’s supported by the non-profit Post-Landfill Action Network.

“By reducing single-use plastics, we reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill,” said Marshall University’s Sustainability Manager, Amy Parsons-White. “Plastic can be around for thousands of years and since less than 30% of plastic sent to recycling facilities actually gets recycled, that adds up to a lot of waste with no place to go. It ends up in the oceans, in the ground and microplastics have even been found in our drinking water. This can pose a health risk to people and animals.”

She says vegetable-based plastics may cost more up front, but you can save money by reducing the hauling of waste to landfills.

“Marshall’s new compost facility will be able to handle all of this waste and turn it into a usable, sellable product, leaving a net zero cost to transition to compostable, vegetable-based plastics,” said Parsons-White. “Reducing single-use plastics on campus and increasing the use of compostables will change the way that we, as a community, think and behave when it comes to plastics. It will allow our students, staff, and faculty to be exposed to the issues surrounding plastic waste, while offering plastic alternatives that they will be able to incorporate into their daily lives.”

The university got its final piece of equipment needed for its commercial composting facility last week. It is expected to be up and running by March 2021. This will be the first commercial composting facility in the state of West Virginia and the eastern United States.

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Hank Hayes February 2, 2021 at 2:28 pm

Eastman to build $250M plastic-to-plastic molecular recycling facility in Kingsport

By Hank Hayes, Kingsport Times News, January 29, 2021

KINGSPORT — Eastman will build “one of the largest plastic to molecular recycling facilities” at its Kingsport site this year, the company and Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced on Friday.

The investment in the facility is expected to total $250 million and create 90 jobs. Construction is expected to begin mid-year. Mechanical completion is expected by year-end 2022.

Eastman expects its molecular recycling initiatives to contribute $600 million of new business revenue in the coming years.

“This is incredibly exciting news,” Eastman Board Chair and CEO Mark Costa said in a conference call with Wall Street analysts. “We have over 100 customer trials going on right now over a wide range of applications.”

Through methanolysis, the facility in the southeast area of the plant site will convert polyester waste that often ends up in landfills and waterways into durable products, creating an optimized circular economy. Utilizing the company’s polyester renewal technology, the new facility will use more than 100,000 metric tons of plastic waste that cannot be recycled by current mechanical methods to produce premium, high-quality specialty plastics made with recycled content.

This process of using plastic waste as the main feedstock is a true material-to-material solution and will not only reduce the company’s use of fossil feedstocks, but also reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20-30% relative to fossil feedstocks.

“With the growing demand for products made with recycled content and the urgent need to address the global plastic waste crisis, now is the time for Eastman to take this step. We are grateful for our partnership with Gov. Lee in making today’s announcement possible,” said Costa. “Thanks to the support of the State of Tennessee and our local officials, we are able to build this facility in our home state, which we believe positions Tennessee to be a leader in enabling the circular economy and an example for others to follow. This will be a great investment for our local community and our customers, while also creating small business jobs to develop the recycling infrastructure necessary to support investment in a sustainable future.”

Lee confirmed the state did offer Eastman an incentive to do the project, but he did not place a value on the incentive.

“Eastman has been a leader in the materials sector for over 100 years and continues to be a valued partner to our state,” said Lee. “I’d like to thank the company for investing in Kingsport and its highly skilled workforce and for focusing on innovative technology that enhances the quality of life for people not just in Tennessee, but around the world.”

Eastman was one of the pioneers in developing methanolysis technology at commercial scale and has more than three decades of expertise in the recycling process. Eastman’s experience with methanolysis makes it uniquely qualified to be a leader in delivering this solution at commercial scale.

Polyester renewal technology will be an especially impactful solution, as low-quality polyester waste that cannot be mechanically recycled and would typically be diverted to landfills, incineration or end up in the environment can instead be recycled into high-quality polyesters suitable for use in a variety of end-use durable applications.

“While today’s announcement is an important step, it is just part of the company’s overall circular economy strategy,” said Costa. He added that Eastman is actively working on the next steps forward with its circular economy initiatives, including partnerships and direct investments in Europe.

This facility will contribute to the company achieving its ambitious sustainability commitments for addressing the plastic waste crisis, which includes recycling more than 500 million pounds of plastic waste annually by 2030 via molecular recycling technologies.

The company has committed to recycling more than 250 million pounds of plastic waste annually by 2025.


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