Closing the Loop on the Plastics Dilemma

A Chemical Sciences Roundtable Workshop

May 9-10, 2019

Thank you to those who attended or viewed the workshop! To view the recording from the workshop, click here.




Workshop Presentations:

Session I
Eric Beckman: Keynote–The Plastics Dilemma
Brian Riise: Overview of Mechanical Recycling: Methods and Challenges
Andre Benard: Enhancing Mechanical Recycling with Spectroscopic Methods
Megan Robertson: Enhancing Mechanical Recycling with Compatibilizers

Session II
Paul Dauenhauer: Reaction Engineering Fundamentals
Jennifer Le Roy: Scaling Industrially
Susannah Scott: Adapting Transition Metal-Based Heterogeneous and Homogeneous Catalysts for Polymer Disassembly
Robert Allen: Molecular Catalysis: Evolution of Organic Catalysts for Chemical Recycling of PET
Richard Gross: Biocatalysis
Eric Boyd: Microbial Degradation
Ming Xu: Life Cycle Implications of Managing Plastics Wastes

Session III:
David Hodge: Leveraging Biomass Conversion for Depolymerizing and Producing Plastics
Geoffrey Coates: New Building Blocks for Plastics
Eugene Chen: Chemically Recyclable Polymers
Linda Broadbelt: Modeling or Predictive Analyses
Michael Wang: Life Cycle Assessment and Technoeconomic Analysis on Sustainable Plastics

Workshop Description:
Plastics today are used in various industries to produce lightweight, corrosion-resistant, durable materials. Unfortunately, the characteristics that make plastics valuable materials also make them environmentally unfriendly; no plastic that is commonly used today is biodegradable. Furthermore, few plastics are recycled; most are landfilled or discarded into the environment. Given the urgent need to reimagine plastics and waste management practices, this workshop will focus on better connecting the product design with end-of-use stages of the plastics life cycle. Specifically, the workshop will discuss new polymer options and approaches that reduce the impacts of plastics that enter the environment and that improve recycling of plastics, through both mechanical and chemical methods. Ultimately, the overall goal of the workshop is to provide a venue for the chemistry and chemical engineering communities and related fields to identify opportunities to reduce the environmental impact of plastics by enhancing plastics recycling and by reducing the lifetime of plastics that enter the environment.