Plastics and chemicals

Fueling the boom in plastics

Fossil fuels ie oil, gas, and coal are the primary materials from which almost all plastics are made. The rise of cheap shale gas in the United States has resulted in massive new investments in plastics infrastructure in the US and abroad, with 264 new facilities or

expansion projects in the US alone. China has joined the boom and is also investing heavily in plastics infrastructure. Additionally the continued fracking boom (despite community opposition everywhere) is fueling new plastics plants in Europe, which will rely heavily on American natural gas.

A recent wave of plastics investments in the Middle East will further intensify the industry’s search for new plastics markets and its efforts to increase plastics consumption.

By 2025, production capacity is expected to increase by 33-36% for both ethylene and propylene. If constructed, this massive expansion in capacity could lock in plastic production for decades, undermining efforts to reduce consumption and reverse the plastics crisis.

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