some plastics are made from renewable resources, most are made from crude oil.
How sustainable are they?
oil, like natural gas and coal, is a non-renewable resource: once we have
used them up, they cannot be replaced.
of the world’s oil already comes from OPEC (Organisation of the Petroleum
Exporting Countries - Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar,
Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela). From 2008, it is expected
that OPEC will have overall control of the world’s oil supplies. Do you
think this is wise?
tankers, some up to half-a-mile long, are used to transport crude oil. If
one of these is involved in an accident, the oil spilt can cause an
environmental disaster, contaminating beaches and destroying wildlife.
oil is processed in a refinery, where it is separated into different
components (fractions) – petrol gas, gasoline, naphtha, kerosine, diesel
oil, lubricating oil and a residue that is used to make bitumen for
surfacing roads. Most plastics are developed from naphtha. In total, 4% of
crude oil is used to make plastics – a small but significant amount.