American Chemistry MattersA Blog of the American Chemistry Council

American Chemistry Matters

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Plastics-to-fuel turns “waste” plastics into a valuable resource – while saving other resources in the process

A new study by Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), part of the U.S. Department of Energy, found that converting non-recycled plastics into diesel fuel can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 14 percent, water consumption by up to 58 percent, and traditional energy use by up to 96 percent compared to diesel production from traditional crude oil.

You read that right: 96 percent.

ANL used the Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions and Energy use in Transportation (GREET®) model to conduct its analysis. The GREET model is a highly respected model used by sustainability professionals, federal and state government agencies, and energy companies for making decisions about material use and fuels.

The results from this study add to the growing amount of evidence that shows our lost opportunities when we bury non-recycled plastics in landfills. Not only do we lose the opportunity to put non-recycled plastics to good use, we lose the opportunity to conserve valuable resources and shrink our environmental footprint.

It has been said before, but it’s worth repeating: it’s time to start thinking of non-recycled plastics as a valuable resource.

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