Scientists tackle plastic waste with $12.8M award from Department of Energy

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By the year 2050, the World Economic Forum projects that plastic waste in the world’s oceans will outweigh fish pound for pound.

Plastic is everywhere: in our homes, offices, schools. The material is cheap, versatile, lightweight, and durable. In fact, it is so durable that, unlike many other kinds of materials, most types of plastic do not decompose. This raises a host of environmental and human health concerns as plastic particles can drift throughout the environment indefinitely, often travelling up the food chain and ending up on our dinner plates and in our drinking water.    

Now a team of scientists from the multi-institutional Program on Plastics, Ecosystems, and Public Health (PEPH) at the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern University (ISEN) is taking an innovative approach to tackling the challenge of plastic waste. The new initiative, known as the Institute for Cooperative Upcycling of Plastics (iCOUP) and housed at Ames National Laboratory, is made possible by a recent $12.8 million research award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s transformative Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) program. Read more. 

Published in: the Northwestern Institute for Energy and Sustainability