Sustainable Chemical End-of-Life Management to Advance the Circular Economy

Organizers: Gerardo Ruiz-Mercado, Ph.D. Chemical Engineer. Office of Research & Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA); Lindsay Soh, PhDAssociate Professor, Kate and Walter A. Scott ’59 Scholar in Engineering Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Lafayette College

One important but often overlooked part of a circular economy is the role of chemicals and their supply chains, particularly those that are hazardous or used in large volumes. Increasing the recycling, recovery, and reuse rates of these materials will allow for the mitigation or elimination impacts such as environmental pollution and exhaustion of our planet resources. This symposium seeks to highlight novel green chemistry and engineering developments within regulatory, technical, logistics, and economic areas that seek to address chemical end-of-life (EoL). These efforts include creating, adapting, and designing technologies processes, and supply chains to enhance recycling, recovery, and/or minimizing environmental and human health risks of chemicals at EoL. Also, efforts to fill current data pertaining to the releases and environmental impacts of chemicals at EoL will be prioritized. Finally, the symposium seeks developments on identifying current and potential links between industry sectors at the EoL stage (e.g., recycling and recovery facilities) and industry sectors at upstream chemical life cycle stages (e.g., manufacturing). From the circular economy point of view, this industry sector linkage may be beneficial to close the recycling loop, considering potential risks and regulatory constraints.