Plastics are oil-based

A survey sponsored by Telles(TM), a joint venture of Metabolix, Inc. (MBLX) and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM): National Survey Reveals More than 70% of Americans Don’t Know Plastic is Made from Oil

Press Release covering an InsightExpress survey:

Plastics are everywhere and most Americans have come to rely on plastics in all aspects of their lives. However, very few people realize that plastics are made from oil, further contributing to the problems of energy dependence, greenhouse gas emissions and depleting resources. In fact, nearly 10 percent of U.S. oil consumption – approximately 2 million barrels a day – is used to make plastic.

I happened to know conventional plastics are petroleum-based, and I’m pretty sure that I learned it in the early pages of Alan Dean Foster’s novelization of the film ‘Alien’.

The things you learn if you read as a kid. And I was always fond of Alan Dean Foster’s novelizations.


  1. You are correct . Most people do not know that plastics come from petroleum. Likewise a great majority of our drugs. Nitrogen fertilizer, which farmers used in great abundance for corn growing comes from natural gas. In a million ways unknow to most are very life style is dependent upon petroleum.

  2. All the more reason to stop burning it and start making stuff from it. Can you imagine what the price of HDPE would be if it weren’t for those damn SUVs? Damn moving chicanes.

  3. I still recall my school lessons – the oil that makes plastics is the heavy fractions (bitumen level). It’s the petrol fractions that are in less abundance, hence the reason why the demand is much greater – and people monitor it’s price more.