Date of Award

Fall 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Judy Tupper

Second Advisor

Ben Greenfield


Public Health, Plastics, Plastic Production, Medical Supplies, Emily Baker



In 2015, 24 plastic production facilities in the United States produced 17.5 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent (CO2e-), which is the same as what 3.8 million cars produced that year (Hamilton 2019). The incineration (controlled burning) of this plastic in 2015 emitted approximately 5.9 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent (CO2e-) (Hamilton 2019). CO2e- is a measure for comparing greenhouse gases to carbon dioxide, by multiplying the amount produced by their global warming potential (Brander 2012). Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere and warm the planet over time, some are naturally occurring, and some are synthetic. The naturally occurring gases are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and water vapor, and fluorinated gases are synthetic (Denchak 2019). The global warming created can have many disastrous effects on human health.



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