Options to feed plastic waste back into the manufacturing industry to achieve a circular carbon economy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Plastic waste disposal practices and subsequent leakage into the environment are creating environmental, economic, and social problems. Reduction of plastic waste generation is one of the main solutions offered to remedy the plastic waste problem. However, it is undeniable that plastics play a significant role in benefiting humanity. Plastic medical devices save lives, household equipment and vehicle components are lighter and more fuel efficient. Conventional plastics are produced from virgin fossil feedstocks (oil and natural gas), and their carbon footprint is contributing to the problem of climate change. However, greenhouse gas (GHG) emission inventories generally report that emissions related to global waste management may not be as high as other GHG sources, i.e. electricity generation from fossil fuel combustion or transportation, concluding that innovative approaches in the waste management sector may not substantially contribute to climate change mitigation efforts. This paper examines near or long term technical and policy changes needed that can support environmental health, mitigate climate change, and promote social justice by feeding plastic waste back into the circular carbon economy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-355
Number of pages15
JournalAIMS Environmental Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science(all)


  • Circular economy
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Plastic feedstocks
  • Plastic waste


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