Plastics emissions to surpass coal-powered plants by end of decade
The plastics industry in the United States is on track to release more greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) than coal-powered electricity generating plants by the end of the decade, according to a new report released on Thursday.
The report, by Bennington College’s Beyond Plastics project, found that the American plastics industry is releasing at least 232m tons of GHG annually, the equivalent to 116 average-sized coal-fired power plants.
“Plastics is the new coal and it is a major environmental justice concern … The health impacts of the emissions are disproportionately borne by low-income communities and communities of color,” said Judith Enck, president of Beyond Plastics and former regional Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator under President Obama.
Ninety per cent of the plastics industry’s reported climate change pollution takes place in just 18 communities, where residents earn 28% less than the average American household and are 67% more likely to be minority communities.
The report identified 10 different stages in which plastics manufacturing emits the most significant GHG.
25 October 2021