Environmental Sustainability Network: Plastics, Sustainability and Systems - One Bin To Rule Them All

Replace, remove, reduce, reuse, recycle? The contestations of plastics and packaging.

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 for all actors.

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.