Make better use of our petroleum resources, with plastic

Although I appreciate Bryan Hewitt's comments in his letter "Who's Responsible for the Gulf Oil?" [June 9], we should keep in mind that far more damage is done to our environment by burning petroleum than by manipulating its molecular structure to make plastics. Imagine the impact on our resources if we — all 309 million of us in the U.S. alone — brushed our teeth with natural-bristle hardwood-handled brushes, or watched our entertainment on mahogany-cabineted TV sets. Granted, far too many needless and over-marketed consumables are manufactured with artificially cheap hydrocarbon-based plastics, but for the things that are relevant — reducing weight for greater vehicle efficiency comes to mind — synthetic polymers are a breakthrough. We have renewable energy, biomass and biofuels at our fingertips — there are far better things to do with our remaining petroleum than to burn it.

— Richard Freudenberger

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3 thoughts on “Make better use of our petroleum resources, with plastic

  1. travelah

    At some point, the economic theories of supply and demand will enforce what you are suggesting. There is a building consensus that we have reached or surpassed the peak of global oil production. This has obvious consequences, both good and bad. Many of the petro-chemicals you are arguing in favor of result from the refining process. I have no doubt that technology will get us to an alternate process and benefits.
    Knowing that we have peaked in production means that oil will only become less available and more expensive as we move through the next decades. This also means that economic realities of supply and demand will eventually force us to move to other sources of energy and infrastructure. This also means that there is no need for “cap and tax” schemes, carbon trading frauds and a host of other misguided efforts to derail our economy. Instead, we should be focusing our efforts on what you are suggesting among other activities. Hopefully, enough wise minds will prevail over those intent on destroying us in the process with their excessive taxation and economic ruin.

  2. chops

    ha ha! “destroying us” with “excessive taxation”! ha!
    …really, that is laughable! ha! hee hee..

    good one.

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