Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is the process of extracting natural gas from shale rock layers deep within the earth by injecting highly pressurized fluids–including combinations of highly toxic
chemicals–into the shale to release the trapped gas. The process was exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act in 2005, which means companies don’t even have to disclose the chemicals they use–chemicals which can contaminate ground water. Fracking has been linked to air and water pollution and even earthquakes.
BUT WHAT DOES FRACKING HAVE TO DO WITH PLASTIC?
Most people still think that plastic is made from petroleum–oil. And much of it is. But in the United States, a large percentage of plastic is actually made from natural gas. Why? Well, plastic is made from hydrocarbons. And fossil fuels like oil, natural gas, and coal are rich with hydrocarbons. In fact, in the early days of the plastics industry,
the primary source of hydrocarbons to make plastic was coal tar. The industry will use whatever is plentiful and cheap. And with the U.S. fracking boom, plastics manufacturers are encouraged to build manufacturing plants in the areas where the natural gas is being extracted. The more available natural gas, the more plastic manufacturing in the United States. . . .