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Plastics after peak oil

General discussions of the systemic, societal and civilisational effects of depletion.

Plastics after peak oil

Unread postby Afterburner » Mon 17 Apr 2006, 07:03:35

4 % of the oil are used for plastic production. We are wrapping up our food in it, etc etc, it's almost in everything. My question is what will happen to the price of "everything" after peak oil ?
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Re: Plastics after peak oil

Unread postby Chaparral » Mon 17 Apr 2006, 08:19:44

The "price of everything" might soar.

I believe Dupont is working on a way to synthesize plastics from soybeans or other oil crops so I've a suspicion they wont completely go away.

I always envisoned a "core charge" of sorts as the stuff gets scarce. You see core charges in the automotive repair business; say for example you buy a new starter motor for your old Toyota with 400,000km on it and the repair shop will charge you a small fee of 5-10 USD if you insist on keeping your old starter motor assembly. The repair shop is deprived of the opportunity to resell the old unit to someone who will rebuild it and market it as a rebuilt/reconditioned unit. I've always envisioned styrofoam food cartons, plastic milk/orange juice jugs and beverage containers as one day being subject to this at the checkout line. The container may account for 50% or more of the cost of the product some day. The customer brings it back or the customer would essentially pay double.

I could imagine a time where it takes a half day's wages to pay for a milk jug or beer bottle.
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Re: Plastics after peak oil

Unread postby NeoPeasant » Mon 17 Apr 2006, 09:40:08

Chaparral wrote:I always envisoned a "core charge" of sorts as the stuff gets scarce. You see core charges in the automotive repair business; say for example you buy a new starter motor for your old Toyota with 400,000km on it and the repair shop will charge you a small fee of 5-10 USD if you insist on keeping your old starter motor assembly. The repair shop is deprived of the opportunity to resell the old unit to someone who will rebuild it and market it as a rebuilt/reconditioned unit. I've always envisioned styrofoam food cartons, plastic milk/orange juice jugs and beverage containers as one day being subject to this at the checkout line. The container may account for 50% or more of the cost of the product some day. The customer brings it back or the customer would essentially pay double.


Didn't they impose a plastic grocery bag fee somewhere in the SF bay area? That would get people to quickly get in the habit of bringing some canvas or mesh bags along when they shop.

In a decade or two I wouldn't be suprised if it became common practice to bring your own containers to the shops for refilling, and pay by dispensed weight. You can already do this in the bulk sections of some health food stores.
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Re: Plastics after peak oil

Unread postby SoothSayer » Mon 17 Apr 2006, 11:39:21

I don't think that we need to worry about plastic in the short term.

High value materials like microchips, hifis, DVDs, computers, plastics etc will be hit late in any shortage.

How many kilos of fuels does your car or house or powerstation burn in a year?

How many kilos of plastics do you consume?

You can always use "proper" shopping bags - and plastics can be recycled too.

Fuel for heating or transportation however is another story ...
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Re: Plastics after peak oil

Unread postby Afterburner » Wed 19 Apr 2006, 01:43:44

If I want to buy let's say polypropylene( common used plastics ) I have to pay 10% in a "temporary oil price surcharge". How much can I expect this " tops " will rise in a horizon of 5 - 10 years ?.
I was just watching the news and observe that North sea brent was priced to 72 $/bbl deliver in jun06, and the oil production level was decreasing with 8 - 10 % /y.
Scary stuff, if you ask me.
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Re: Plastics after peak oil

Unread postby Doly » Wed 19 Apr 2006, 07:33:39

Plastics will certainly become more expensive. But if anybody is worried about running out of plastics - nonsense!

First, because it will probably be worthwhile to get plastics out of oil long after we've stopped using it as a fuel. And anyway, you can get plastics easily from plant sources.
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Re: Plastics after peak oil

Unread postby mermaid » Wed 19 Apr 2006, 07:43:31

[quote="Chaparral"]The "price of everything" might soar.

I believe Dupont is working on a way to synthesize plastics from soybeans or other oil crops so I've a suspicion they wont completely go away.

Where do the soyabeans come from??? right! from the cut jungles in Brazil! the land is worn out because of the largescale agroculture and only just soyabeans. this will be a good solution, I don't think so, you better stop eating soya, because it is destroying the rainforests!! I'm sorry for the farmers overthere, but it is not their fault, it is the bigboy's playing chess.
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Re: Plastics after peak oil

Unread postby shakespear1 » Wed 19 Apr 2006, 13:21:46

I must make this comment as it makes me a bit angry.

I just bought a new toothbrush , ORAL-B. The bristles are plastic as is the handle. However the weight of the handle is incredible. The ratio must be around 1:1000. The handle is really heavy. This brush will make it to the dump after a month. Amazing they don't come up with a system to replace the bristles and not waist the handle and its plastic. :twisted:
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Re: Plastics after peak oil

Unread postby AtmaStorm » Wed 19 Apr 2006, 16:16:52

Check these links out:
http://www.biogroupusa.com/
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/02 ... i_deve.php

Just do a search on bioplastic.
Needless to say, Petrol plastics are not going to be present in the future.
Last edited by AtmaStorm on Wed 19 Apr 2006, 16:22:50, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Plastics after peak oil

Unread postby shakespear1 » Wed 19 Apr 2006, 16:21:29

Where can one buy a good toothbrush to get away from this crapy plastic? :)
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Re: Plastics after peak oil

Unread postby net-paw » Thu 20 Apr 2006, 09:31:14

Geez you peak oilers can be alarmist for no reason can't you. What about plastics, omg, run away away, run away....

You can use Hemp to make plastics. As for the environmental costs .... well if we still used hemp to make our books, paper and clothes the environment would be a lot better off for it.

Then again it was the OIL companies and those that control them that originally worked very hard to close down the hemp industry in the US. Not to mention their efforts to show hemp to be a mind killing recreational
drug as opposed to the medicinal benefits. Funny how the biggest selling drug is one manufactured by the oil companies (Drug companies are linked to the oil companies in case you didn't know) to do the same thing. Antidepressants ring a bell ?

Read a bit of history about it, it's all very interesting.
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Re: Plastics after peak oil

Unread postby pea-jay » Thu 20 Apr 2006, 11:36:59

Oil depletion is big a concern for the sake energy consumption, less so for the use as industrial feedstocks. We are going to lose the ability depend on it as an energy source but there will be plenty of it left in the ground for non-energy purposes. It's one thing to expend more energy trying to get an energy source, it is a whole other thing to expend energy mining for something that will be put to a non-energy use (like plastic). It may cost more, but it will still be done (presuming there is a functioning economy based on another energy source in the future). As long as we can produce sufficient electricity and heat for the industrial processes, it is feasible.

Plus there are opportunities for recycling, thermal depolymerization and use of renewable oils grown for this purpose (they are making plastic containers out of grapeseed oil in my old county).

Since oil production can only recover a limited percentage of the oil in the ground before it ceases to make economic and energetic sense, the days of oil extraction for energy uses is limited. The remaining oil will likely continue to be drawn for industrial and manufacturing purposes for a long time to come.
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Re: Plastics after peak oil

Unread postby Dukat_Reloaded » Thu 20 Apr 2006, 11:53:09

LOL net-paw. I aggree, I can't believe someone is whining about their toothbrush and that....wait for it...... "plastic will run out in the future". Who cares, everyone here seems to hate plastics anyway, that should be a good thing. But Noooo, it's got to be twisted around so people here can get that special felling down their spine which they have learnt to enjoy. :roll:
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Re: Plastics after peak oil

Unread postby Afterburner » Fri 21 Apr 2006, 01:33:02

OK lets say you theoretical can replace today's oil derived plastics with hemp and seed plastics.
How much area do you need to grow this ?
How much NG to you need to produce sufficient nitrogen based fertilizers ?
How much energy do you need just for operating this facilitys inclusive the plastic production refinery ?
What about transport issues on agri..sites.?

Sorry ! This was negative comment's but hempfarming etc is a very longtime solution. What we need now is a short time solution, peak oil is just around the corner. The price of brent north sea oil was 74 $/bbl when I write this.
The gas prices where I live is : 1.85 $/l or 7$/USgl and it's still rising.
We can't manage without transport and with those fuel prices the transport buisness can suddenly crack.

To be honest I don't think that it is Iran's nuclear stunt that are holding the oilprice, its simply shortages of available oil & gas in the world.
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Re: Plastics after peak oil

Unread postby shakespear1 » Fri 21 Apr 2006, 05:52:06

Code: Select all
It's one thing to expend more energy trying to get an energy source, it is a whole other thing to expend energy mining for something that will be put to a non-energy use (like plastic). It may cost more, but it will still be done (presuming there is a functioning economy based on another energy source in the future).


This is a very good point. In the not so distant past paper bags were used in grocerie stores!!!

The point about the toothbrush is was related to the above observation and the fact that the stupid handle COULD be REUSED or make out of somehting else. The whole point being that a long journey starts with those small steps as did the destruction of a sustainable world.
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Re: Plastics after peak oil

Unread postby Gil-Galad » Fri 21 Apr 2006, 05:59:56

I think future generations will have to obtain plastic by mining our rubbish dumps. Plastic in the third world is one of the most horrific things - lying beside the road, in trees, in rivers. The sooner plastic production comes to an end for bottles and bags the better
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Bioplastics Threaten Big Oil

Unread postby AdamB » Mon 08 Jan 2018, 17:31:02


What sector will account for the largest source of oil demand growth over the next two decades? Most people might assume transportation, with hundreds of millions of people in the developing world acquiring cars for the first time. However, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the petrochemical industry will represent the largest source of additional oil consumption through 2040. By 2040, the IEA actually sees oil demand from passenger vehicles declining, while road freight accounts for a growth of 4 million barrels per day (mb/d). Aviation adds 3 mb/d and maritime shipping adds another 1.4 mb/d. On the other hand, the manufacturing of petrochemicals such as plastics will add 6.2 mb/d to global oil demand by 2040, according to the IEA’s New Policies Scenario, which incorporates the effects of policies from governments that have already been announced. The debate over


Bioplastics Threaten Big Oil
Peak oil in 2020: And here is why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b3ttqYDwF0
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Re: Plastics after peak oil

Unread postby Subjectivist » Mon 08 Jan 2018, 20:03:51

IIRC the majority of plastic types now come from Natural Gas.

Although crude oil is a source of raw material (feedstock) for making plastics, it is not the major source of feedstock for plastics production in the United States. Plastics are produced from natural gas, feedstocks derived from natural gas processing, and feedstocks derived from crude oil refining. May 17, 2017



https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=34&t=6
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Re: Plastics after peak oil

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Tue 09 Jan 2018, 14:28:41

Gil-Galad wrote:I think future generations will have to obtain plastic by mining our rubbish dumps. Plastic in the third world is one of the most horrific things - lying beside the road, in trees, in rivers. The sooner plastic production comes to an end for bottles and bags the better

I agree about mining the dumps. Imagine a seam of ore in a mine that was five percent copper and seven percent aluminum and twenty percent hydrocarbons in the form of plastic.
But instead of ending all plastic production we need to stop making single use throw away plastic items and do a much better job of keeping plastic out of the environment after it's useful life. You wouldn't want to switch the dashboard of your car back to steel or wood or any of those other car parts that make modern cars safer, lighter and more fuel efficient.
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Re: Plastics after peak oil

Unread postby Tanada » Tue 09 Jan 2018, 15:24:53

vtsnowedin wrote:
Gil-Galad wrote:I think future generations will have to obtain plastic by mining our rubbish dumps. Plastic in the third world is one of the most horrific things - lying beside the road, in trees, in rivers. The sooner plastic production comes to an end for bottles and bags the better

I agree about mining the dumps. Imagine a seam of ore in a mine that was five percent copper and seven percent aluminum and twenty percent hydrocarbons in the form of plastic.
But instead of ending all plastic production we need to stop making single use throw away plastic items and do a much better job of keeping plastic out of the environment after it's useful life. You wouldn't want to switch the dashboard of your car back to steel or wood or any of those other car parts that make modern cars safer, lighter and more fuel efficient.


That was one of the most believable things about
THE WORLD MADE BY HAND
IMO, the mining of the old town dump as a career and profitable exercise. Most folks alive today in the USA have no idea how thoroughly things were recycled before the 1950's in this country. If a jar or bottle made of glass was still sound it was kept and used, or passed on for other uses. My parents lived through the Great Depression and throwing away something you might someday have a use for was a terrible thing to do. If you had a tangle of old fencing wire and you were in a hurry you might use new wire, but when you had all your chores done you would go back and untangle that wire so the next time there was a break you would have it ready to use. I speak from experience having helped repair the electric fence that kept the cattle and horses from wandering off many times growing up.
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