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Plastic is traditionally made from petroleum, but $19 billion Brazilian petrochemical giant Braskem is using its homeland's renewable resource instead: sugarcane. "We are offering a product that actually takes carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere," says Alexandre Elias, Braskem's director of renewable chemicals. The company converts sugarcane ethanol into ethylene, the hydrocarbon raw material that goes into plastic. The process reduces greenhouse gases by capturing up to two tons of carbon dioxide for each ton of green polyethylene produced.
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