Rethinking the Plastic Problem: Plastic Waste as a Valuable Resource

Organizers: Dr. Christopher Parlett, University of Manchester and Diamond Light Source, Manchester, UK; Dr. Xiaolei Fan, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK; Professor Arthur Garforth, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

Cosponsor: American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Environmental Division (ED) and Sustainable Engineering Forum (SEF)

Plastic waste and its pollution of the environment has led to a downturn in public perception of plastics leading to them being perceived as one of the most severe environmental issues today. However, plastic waste streams have the potential to be a highly valuable resource, which if realized, would lead to a shift in the public’s opinion. This symposium will provide a platform to discuss the latest research in the field of plastics, plastic wastes, and plastic reuse/recycling. This holistic approach to the plastic problem will encompass feedstocks, design and production, end of life processing and recycling, and complementary process evaluation and policy. It will therefore highlight current developments and future opportunities which will be critical to the realization of a circular economy for plastic manufacture. The symposium will cover;

  • Sustainable feedstocks/monomers, life cycle assessment and policymaking
  • Polymers/composite materials and fibers designed for recyclability
  • Waste stream separation, including automation
  • Chemical (including catalytic and enzymatic) and mechanical depolymerization and decomposition