If you lined up all the plastic bottles produced each year, the resulting line would encircle the Earth and stretch to the Moon and back. That's over 477,000 miles - a staggering distance!
The scale of plastic production has far-reaching consequences for the environment, particularly in terms of climate change. According to a report by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), producing one ton of PP plastic emits approximately 1.57 tons of CO2 (CIEL, 2019).
This statistic highlights the significant contribution of the plastic industry to global greenhouse gas emissions, which research estimates to be between 4-8% (Plastic Pollution Coalition, n.d.).
Companies that do not take action to combat climate change risk facing significant financial costs. This is particularly true for businesses involved in infrastructure development, such as greener energy and transportation, as they may incur substantial expenses to reduce CO2 emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change.
In addition to these direct costs, there are also indirect expenses to consider, such as the impact on a company's brand, higher insurance premiums, and fines for not complying with emissions regulations.
Therefore, there is an urgent need to transition away from plastic in order to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and remove carbon from the atmosphere before the level of carbon in the atmosphere reaches a critical point.
Carbon credits have limitations and risks, including market fluctuations and the potential for greenwashing. They alone are insufficient for emissions reduction. Half of emissions come from materials, so transitioning away from carbon-emitting materials is essential for a low-carbon economy, even with 100% green energy.
To tackle the issue of materials in the era of climate change, a fundamental solution is required that can address the root cause of the problem. A material that satisfies the following criteria is necessary:
- Negative carbon footprint meaning it removes more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits during its entire lifecycle.
- Versatile enough to replace carbon-emitting materials in various industries and applications.
- Economically sustainable meaning it should be cost-effective and competitive with existing carbon-emitting materials in the market.
To triumph over the challenge of emissions from materials, we require a fundamental solution that meets the criteria of being carbon-negative, flexible, and economically sustainable. Without such a solution, we cannot succeed.
Over the past five years, AirX has been dedicated to working with agricultural by-products in order to create an innovative solution that meets the three criteria of sustainability through the use of our Plant-based Polypropylene :
- Carbon negative: Throughout its entire lifecycle, each kilogram of our Plant-based Polypropylene material can absorb 0.841 kg CO2 from the atmosphere.
- Application flexibility: Plant-based Polypropylene are technically equivalent to their fossil counterparts and can be easily integrated into the supply chain without requiring costly changes to technology or infrastructure.
- Economical: The cost of Plant-based Polypropylene is directly competitive with traditional plastics when produced on a large scale.
Plant-based Polypropylene are considered carbon negative materials because they sequester carbon that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere. Trees naturally absorb carbon dioxide from the air during their growth. When a part of the tree is used to produce bio-composites, the captured carbon is effectively stored, preventing it from being released back into the atmosphere.
By utilizing recycled plastic in the manufacturing of Bio-based Polypropylene , a more sustainable option with lower carbon emissions is achieved. This can be attributed to several reasons, including the fact that:
- Producing recycled plastic requires significantly less energy than producing new plastic from virgin materials. This means that the carbon emissions associated with the manufacturing process are significantly lower.
- Recycling plastic helps divert waste from landfills and the environment. When plastic waste decomposes, it releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. By recycling plastic, we can reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills, thereby reducing methane emissions.
- Recycling plastic helps to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels. Virgin plastic is manufactured from oil, which has a significant impact on carbon emissions. By utilizing recycled plastic, we can decrease our consumption of oil and, as a result, lower carbon emissions.
- Recycling plastic reduces the demand for new plastic production, which in turn reduces the amount of energy needed to extract, refine, and transport virgin materials to plastic manufacturing facilities. This process requires a significant amount of energy and contributes to carbon emissions throughout the entire supply chain.
When assessing the carbon impact of a product, it is essential to consider its full lifecycle. Our eco-friendly Polypropylene material offers a significant advantage in reducing carbon emissions due to its ability to be fully recycled. At the end of its useful life, the product can be crushed and melted down to create a new form of material, ensuring that carbon is continually captured within the material. This feature not only promotes a circular economy but also helps to limit carbon emissions.
Businesses can benefit from this innovative material by incorporating it into their product production processes. By doing so, they can reduce the carbon emissions associated with their entire supply chain, from production to disposal, and actively work towards achieving negative carbon goals by removing more carbon from the atmosphere than they emit.