David Attenborough in Blue Planet II did what many polymer scientists in my field have been trying to do for years: Convince the public and government that the challenges of plastic waste are real and need to be fixed. But is this as simple as doing away with single use plastic? This talk will explore the complex nature of our plastic environment, the interdependency of plastics on our goals for lowering our carbon footprint and increasing our expected lifespan, while also showcasing our own work on how polymer chemistry has the opportunity to shape a new sustainable future by developing interdisciplinary solutions that work across the supply chain. Through our project “One Bin To Rule Them All”, we will explore systemic approaches to improving sustainable fates, from reuse to recycling (we work across enzymatic, chemical and mechanical recycling) and the opportunities and risks of new monomers for degradable polymers, and how the environmental sustainability can work in concert with economic and social sustainability. We will also discuss our project “ReCon2”, a new not-for-profit based on technology to quantify the recycled content in plastic packaging, helping to rebuild trust in recycling and plastics across the policy landscape and our work on qualifying recyclate to better understand its properties. Finally, we’ll discuss our work on degradable (chemically, biologically) polymers including circular credit cards and thermosets.
Announcement: Guest Lecture in November!
We are happy to welcome Prof. Michael P. Shaver from University of Manchester for a guest lecture on “Sustainability, Plastics, Systems: From One Bin To Rule Them All to Degradable Credit Cards and Thermosets” on Thursday, 2nd of November 2023, at 11 a.m. (CET).