Skip to main content
28th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference

Knowledge Transfer and Common Metrics: How Can We Achieve Circular Polymers?

This full-day workshop will take place Sunday, June 2nd.

There are many different approaches to ‘closing the loop’ of circularity in the field of polymer chemistry, whether that be focused on healable/recyclable products, biodegradability, renewable feedstocks or breaking down material to its constituent parts through depolymerization. This topic touches upon three conference tracks; The Circularity of Chemicals/Materials, Sustainable Product Design and Polymers. While there is excellent cutting edge research being performed in this area, there are also barriers to development outside academic publication. The principles of green chemistry could help us address, through collaboration, how best to overcome such barriers through sharing of experiences, ideas and holding discussions around metrics. Artificial intelligence (AI) has a great potential to aid life cycle analysis (LCA) and to establish a universal, interdisciplinary standard of open metrics and terminology. It is crucial that we start to open the conversation around this fast-growing field using workshops at events such as GCE conferences which have the prestige and the global reach to make meaningful progress.
Key considerations in the formation of feasible circular economies will include company and government policy, the availability of data for accurate modelling/metrics and engagement of users aside from scientific limitations. In this symposium, it is vital to share case studies of real-world circular economies or products to better understand the practical challenges and driving factors but also successes and inspirations from within the polymer market. Product scores can be recorded and searched by consumers in databases such as Environmental Working Group (https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/). Such scores, and the use of ecolabels and credits through organizations such as CarbonClick, allow more power in the hands of customers to demand more sustainable products. Such factors highlight the importance and need for common metrics within all industries, especially within the polymer industry who will play a part in other industries through packaging, product parts etc.

A significant part of this symposium would be a workshop around establishing universal green metrics and terminology. It would be of great interest to discuss how AI can aid us in this important aim and in keeping with the theme of the conference. Perhaps the greatest insight on this topic could be gleaned from those working within modelling and data collection. It is significant that this workshop includes a panel of diverse voices from as many aspects of the circular economy as possible such as academia, industry, suppliers, manufacturers, data analysts, policy makers. Something that can often be lacking within academic settings is external participation and voices, which can hinder efficient knowledge transfer outside of a university setting. Transfer of knowledge and established best practice is something which we hope to bring to our session through asking a range of speakers and/or panel members for the workshop element of the symposium. We hope that networking opportunities will naturally come from these discussions.

Organizers

Dr. Rebecca Randle, University of Nottingham
Prof. Peter Licence, University of Nottingham
Dr. Adam Nevin, Trelleborg
Philip Brindle, Trelleborg