Plastic is very controversial material but it keeps being produced and used in various forms. Why?
dezeen breaks down the different types of plastic and what they’re used for.
This refining process yields not just fuels such as gasoline and kerosene but also chemical byproducts such as ethylene and propylene, which are the most important feedstocks used to create plastics.
Once discarded, 79 per cent of all plastic is dumped in landfills or in the environment, where it will remain for thousands of years. Although this contributes to pollution, it also helps to sequester the carbon contained in the materials and prevents it from entering the atmosphere.
But when incinerated, as 12 per cent of all plastic waste is, this carbon is emitted as carbon dioxide.
Taken together, plastic production and incineration were responsible for more than 850 million metric tons of greenhouse-gas emissions in 2019.
However, with growing efforts to decarbonise the economy, non-fossil alternatives are being developed in a bid to meet the ever-increasing demand for plastics in a more sustainable way.
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