Global and domestic plastics production and consumption
Although recycling is a powerful solution to give a second life to plastic waste and reduce the carbon footprint of this industry, the best option to completely eliminate these emissions is not to manufacture this type of material. The new #zerowaste current proposes going back to the beginning, reducing the purchase of products wrapped or manufactured in plastic by buying in local stores, bulk stores or looking for the most plastic-free option in stores or supermarkets. Some #zerowaste solutions to reduce the emissions of our daily consumption associated with plastics can be to buy food in glass containers, carry reusable cloth bags or mesh bags for fruit, always opt for those products that come in cardboard packaging, look for brands with the ECO seal on their products….
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It is becoming an issue that has created a huge debate. When it comes to your shopping bag, would you choose paper or plastic? It seems like an easy choice but there are many positives and negatives associated with each type of bag. From durability and reusability to life cycle costs, there’s a lot more to consider about paper and plastic bags than meets the eye. Let’s take a look at how each type of bag affects the environment.
Many people believe that paper bags are much more environmentally friendly than plastic bags because they come from wood which is a respectful, organic and renewable resource, while plastic comes from oil or gas, which are non-renewable resources, manufactured through a chemical process. However, if we look at the manufacturing processes of both materials, the production of paper bags appears to be much less environmentally friendly than the production of plastic bags. One difficulty in comparing facts and figures is that too many sources are found, based on different studies. Below is a comparative overview between plastic and paper bag production(1).
How much plastic will be produced by 2020
The idea and the technology are not new. The innovation, the pioneering aspect, says Daniel López, of Rever Spain, is that it is efficient: only 1.2 kW of electrical power is needed for each liter of fuel, which would cost approximately nine euro cents; it has also managed to stabilize its emissions at an average of 80% below the maximum allowed by the regulations.
These are used to burn all plastics that are not reusable and lose a great deal of money in transporting them. However, with Rever’s machines, the largest of which has the capacity to generate up to 8,000 liters of fuel per day, they would not only save these costs, but could also make a profit from such waste by selling the resulting product.
Thus, if its technology were to be extended, Rever Spain would make a significant contribution to environmental conservation through an incentive to save energy consumption that could even reach self-sufficiency levels in large companies and communities of individuals.
How much plastic will be produced by 2021
One ton of recycled plastic avoids the consumption of 1900 liters of oil. Each ton of plastic that we recover, by using as a source of raw material plastics that were already manufactured does not use non-renewable resources and also avoids the consumption of 1900 liters of oil necessary for the manufacture of that virgin plastic.
The production of one ton of virgin plastic generates an emission of 3500 kg of CO2, the production of the same amount of plastic using recycled materials as raw material emits 1700 kg of CO2, therefore, using recycled raw materials avoids the emission of 1800 kg of CO2.
Using plastic wood avoids using trees for the production of wood in its use as a construction material. Each radiata pine tree can have a yield of 0.48 m3/tree. When considering a density of 426 kg/ m3 for this type of wood it is concluded that from each tree produces approximately 204 kg of sawn timber. Therefore: