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The ethane cracker that Shell is building in Beaver County will produce 1.8 million tons of plastic pellets each year. This plastic can be turned into products like plastic bags, milk jugs and medical equipment. How does ethane from natural gas get turned into plastic? And what could happen to all of that plastic as the region ramps up to become a major hub for plastic production? Our video explains.

This video is produced in partnership with StateImpact Pennsylvania, a collaboration among The Allegheny Front, WESA, WITF and WHYY to cover the commonwealth’s energy economy.

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See more coverage on plastics and the petrochemical industry the series, The Coming Chemical Boom:

How Much Plastic Waste is Ending up in Rivers? This Penn State Researcher Wants to Know.

Ever Hear of a Nurdle? This New Form of Pollution Could be Coming to the Ohio River

Wolf’s Support for Petrochemicals Raises Climate Worries as Pennsylvania Tries to Cut Carbon Emissions

Could Shell’s Ethane Cracker Erase Recent Gains in Air Quality?