Plastics directly contribute to climate change through emissions

Signal of change / Plastics directly contribute to climate change through emissions

By Anna Simpson / 25 Aug 2018

A study by scientists at the University of Manoa, Hawaii, shows that plastics directly contribute to greenhouse gas emissions as they degrade. The study shows that "the most commonly used plastics produce two greenhouse gases, methane and ethylene, when exposed to ambient solar radiation". The authors add that "Polyethylene, which is the most produced and discarded synthetic polymer globally, is the most prolific emitter of both gases."

So what?

The implications for the degradation of billions of tons of existing plastics is concerning, contributing significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. The research underlines the urgency not only of stemming the flow of waste plastics into the ocean, but stopping plastic production and consumption altogether. This has major implications for all industries, and in particular F&B and textiles. 

Sources

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0200574    https://www.popsci.com/plastic-greenhouse-gas 

What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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