Plastic roads and buildings, the influence of energy and petrochemicals in geopolitics, and chemical and molecular recycling processes that could create a truly circular economy for plastic products were just a few of the topics discussed at AFPM’s 44th International Petrochemical Conference (IPC) in San Antonio last week.
As petrochemicals and recycling advancements give old plastic new life over and over again—from shoes and clothes made of recycled plastic recovered from the ocean, to plastic bottles being chemically recycled into fuel and a raw material to make new petrochemicals—what it means to “recycle” is changing right before our eyes.
Most people - including those who advocate against the use of fossil fuels - don’t realize that the vast majority of items they use on a daily basis are made from petrochemicals.
My inner geek comes out at surprising times. I recently found myself on a commercial flight going to Houston for a panel discussion on shale development and how it is changing American manufacturing.