Replacing plastics with alternatives is worse for greenhouse gas emissions in most cases, study finds

By University of Sheffield
April 8, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

ENGLAND — Substituting plastics with alternative materials is likely to result in increased GHG emissions, according to research from the University of Sheffield. The study by Dr. Fanran Meng has revealed the emissions associated with plastic products compared to their alternatives. …Published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, the study looked at plastics and their replacements across various applications, including packaging, construction, automotive, textiles and consumer durables. …Findings from the study have revealed that in 15 out of the 16 applications examined, plastic products actually result in lower GHG emissions compared to their alternatives. …Factors such as lower energy intensity during production and the weight efficiency of plastics contribute to their reduced environmental footprint compared to alternatives like glass or metal. …Findings from the research suggest that optimizing plastic use, extending product lifetimes, boosting recycling rates, and enhancing waste collection systems may offer more effective strategies for reducing emissions.


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