Redeeming Plastics Negative Image

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We see all over the news and commercials how the production and disposal of plastics are ruining our environment. However, more studies have been able to show improvements in changing environmental costs, emissions of greenhouse gasses air, land and water pollutants.

Even alternative materials have been considered, however studies show that using plastics in consumer goods and packaging is nearly four times less than it would be if plastics were replaced with alternative materials. These alternative materials being glass, aluminum, paper and tin are viable replacements, though much more pricey.

Processes which will further decrease plastics environmental costs include:

  • Doubling the use of electricity from low-carbon sources such as wind, solar, and hydro power could yield $7.6 billion savings; or $15.2 billion with a switch to 100% low-carbon electricity
  • Developing more efficient packaging designs in the food and soft drinks and ice sector that deliver the same packaging functions but require 30% less plastic would yield environmental cost savings of $7.3 billion
  • Improving the fuel efficiency of vehicles used to transport plastics by 20% could produce $10.6 billion in environmental cost savings through technological change or modal shift toward lower emission transport modes such as rail.

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