Manufacturing Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Associated with Plastics Consumption

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164 Scopus Citations


Plastics are a ubiquitous part of modern life, but their accumulation in landfills and leakage into the natural environment is now recognized as a global environmental crisis. In response to this massive waste challenge, the scientific community is vigorously pursuing new technologies that can enable displacement of fossil-based carbon feedstocks with bio-based or waste-sourced feedstocks, greener manufacturing of plastics, and development of new approaches that will enable recycling of waste plastics to a much greater extent. The current study provides baseline supply chain energy and greenhouse gas emissions data for the consumption of major plastics in the United States, with the intention that these estimates will serve as a useful benchmark for evaluating new circular economy-focused technologies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)673-686
Number of pages14
Issue number3
StatePublished - 17 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A20-76725


  • industrial energy efficiency
  • manufacturing energy
  • materials flow analysis
  • plastics
  • polymers
  • recycling
  • supply chain modeling
  • sustainability


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