By Plastics & Rubber Weekly Staff, a Crain publication
Croydon, UK - PlasticsEurope, the European association of plastics manufacturers, has produced a publication that it claims shows the role plastics has in mitigating climate change.
The brochure: Plastics' positive contribution to climate protection, gives a broad overview of the carbon footprint of plastics, taking into consideration all steps from production to waste management. By underlining the importance of a cradle-to-grave approach, PlasticsEurope is calling on policy-makers attending the Cancun environment summit to focus on opportunities which give the biggest, most effective and cost efficient returns in terms of CO2 benefits.
"The European plastics industry wants to challenge the negative perceptions of plastics by highlighting its benefits when viewed from a lifecycle perspective. The selection of materials must be assessed based on rational rather than emotional criteria," said Michel Loubry, energy efficiency and climate protection programme director at PlasticsEurope.
The information in new brochure is supported by the recent study undertaken by Austrian sustainability consultancy Denkstatt, which gives the clearest picture yet of the CO2 emissions of plastics versus alternative materials and their role in mitigating climate change, according to PlasticsEurope.
"The interdependencies between production and use are key when it comes to cutting green house gases," said Loubry. "By using oil to produce plastics, in the long term we're saving a bigger amount in other sectors. For example, plastic insulation saves energy in buildings and food packaging reduces transport and fuel costs.
"Denkstatt concluded that plastic saves 2.300 million GJ in energy per year (equivalent to 53 million tonnes of crude oil) and 124 million tonnes CO2 per year (equivalent to the entire annual emissions of a country like Belgium)."