NAS Science Session: New Approaches to Solving the Plastics Dilemma (Featuring: Susannah Scott)


Plastics are a vital part of  modern life. Current commodity plastics, such as polyethylene,  polystyrene, and polypropylene, are comprised of large organic molecules  known as polymers, which are derived from non-renewable fossil fuels  and designed to be durable and resistant to degradation. Due to the versatile properties of these synthetic

materials and their low cost, global plastics production has reached an unfathomable rate of more than 400 million metric tons per year. It is hard to imagine a world without plastics – they keep our food safe, are fundamental components of electronic devices, allow fuel-efficient vehicles, among an almost endless list of beneficial applications. However, there is a detrimental side of plastics that creates a growing crisis; for plastic packaging, approximately 1/3 is leaked into the environment, 40% is clogging our landfills. Only 10% is recycled, with just 2% undergoing closed-loop recycling. This session explores a revolution in the field of polymer science that includes a transition to renewable feedstocks, the development of environmentally-degradable materials, plastics that can protect, report, heal and even regenerate themselves, and upcycling of plastics to new fuels, chemicals and materials. The webcast will be available at 11:30 a.m. EDT on Sunday, April 26.

Organizer: Geoffrey W. Coates, Tisch University Professor, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Cornell University
  • Marc A. Hillmyer, Professor, NSF Center for Sustainable Polymers, University of Minnesota
  • Jeffrey S. Moore, Stanley O. Ikenberry Endowed Chair and Director, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Susannah Scott, Distinguished Professor and Mellichamp Chair, Sustainable Catalytic Processing, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Santa Barbara

AIChE - CRE Webinar: Catalytic Depolymerization: Strategies for Chemical Recycling of Waste Plastics

Professor Susannah Scott discusses challenges and opportunities in chemical recycling of waste plastics in March 2020.

Susannah Scott Elected Chair, University of California Academic Senate, Santa Barbara Division

Professor Susannah Scott was elected as the Chair of the Santa Barbara Division of the University of California Academic Senate; She will take office in Fall 2020.

Read more about the UCSB Academic Senate.


University of Houston's "The Future of Plastics" Symposium

Professor Susannah Scott discusses the promises of polymer upcycling and the future of plastics at the UH Energy Symposium Series in November 2019.

Watch the symposium here!