Plastics Projected to Outpace Coal’s Greenhouse-gas Emissions by 2030

The report projected that the plastic industry releases at least 232 million tons of greenhouse gases each year throughout its lifecycle from the drilling for oil and gas to fuel its facilities to incineration of plastic waste.

Valerie Volcovici, Reuters

The carbon-intensive production of plastics is on pace to emit more greenhouse gases than coal-fired power plants within this decade, undercutting global efforts to tackle climate change, a report released on Oct. 21 said.

The report by Bennington College and Beyond Plastics projected that the plastic industry releases at least 232 million tons of greenhouse gases each year throughout its lifecycle from the drilling for oil and gas to fuel its facilities to incineration of plastic waste. That is the equivalent of 116 coal-fired power plants.

“The scale of the plastics industry’s greenhouse-gas emissions is staggering, but it’s equally concerning that few people in government or in the business community are even talking about it," said Judith Enck, a former EPA regional administrator and president of Beyond Plastics.

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