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US Plastics Industry Will Have More Emissions Than Coal by 2030, New Report Says

By: 
Elizabeth Gribkoff

With dozens of new plastics manufacturing and recycling facilities in the works, the U.S. plastics industry will release more greenhouse gas emissions than coal-fired power plants by 2030, say the authors of a new report.

Emissions from the plastics sector equaled that of 116 coal-fired power plants last year, according to the report out Thursday from Bennington College’s Beyond Plastics project. Meanwhile, 42 plastics manufacturing and recycling facilities have opened, or are in the process of being built or permitted, since 2019.

“As the world transitions away from fossil fuels for electricity generation and for transportation, the petrochemical industry has found a new market for fossil fuels: plastics,” Judith Enck, president of Beyond Plastics, told reporters on Thursday.