Plastic production poses major environmental problems

The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), based in Washington, D.C., has collected global data on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from plastic production, starting with the wellheads where the plastic comes from the ground.

According to NPR, CIEL explained that from gas leaks at wellheads to leaks from pipelines that deliver oil and gas to a chemical plant, plastic is among the “most energy-intensive materials to produce.”

In total, “emissions from the production and incineration of plastics could amount to 56 gigatons of carbon by 2050,” or nearly 50 times the annual emissions from all coal-fired power plants in the United States, according to the sky.

NPR has more information:

Plastic waste gets a lot of attention when photos of dead whales with stomachs full of plastic bags make headlines. Pieces of plastic also litter cities, and tiny plastic particles even float through the air.

How plastic manufacturing affects the environment, particularly global warming, is largely ignored. Plastic actually has a large carbon footprint, but so do many alternatives to plastic. And that’s what makes replacing plastic a problem with no clear solution.

Plastic is just one form of fossil fuel. Your plastic water bottle, your grocery bag, your foam tray full of cucumbers… they’re all made from petroleum or natural gas. It takes a lot of energy to get there.

Read the full article here.

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