News & Events

Program to recycle food waste, other organic materials may expand in Athens

Assembly of the steel roll carts at the UGA New Materials Institute in late January. From left: Mira Ngoc Le, Michael Kandefer, Shawn Wallbillich and Austin Wright. Photo by Evan M. White Athens-Clarke County is ...

UGA New Materials Institute tests biodegradation of new thermoplastic polyurethane

A new biodegradable thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) could help reduce the environmental footprint of soft, durable plastics used in footwear, floor mats, and other applications for TPUs. The biodegradation of the new material was validated by ...

ACC, UGA team up to compost

In late January, nearly 400 steel trash cans appeared at the ends of driveways in Athens’ Normaltown, Boulevard and Cobbham neighborhoods, attracting neighbors’ curiosity.  The bins advertised the launch of a compost pilot program jointly conducted ...
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Jenna Jambeck named 2024 SEC Professor of the Year

Jenna Jambeck, a renowned plastic pollution expert, was previously awarded the MacArthur "Genius Grant." (Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski) Jenna Jambeck, Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Georgia, was recently named ...

Athens-Clarke County, University of Georgia seek 400 local residences for study on curbside pickup of food scraps

The Athens-Clarke County Solid Waste Department and the University of Georgia New Materials Institute are looking for up to 400 households in Athens to test their new Residential Compost Pilot Project, which will be deployed ...

UGA researchers to conduct 7 projects for CB2 in 2024

Researchers from the University of Georgia New Materials Institute were recently selected to lead or co-lead seven projects for the Industry Advisory Board for the Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites, or CB2, during the group’s ...
/ biocomposites, bioplastics, CB2, News, plastics

What is “plasticosis”? Is it a ticking time bomb for human and animal health?

Did you know that in the early 1990s a human doctor was the first to suggest that micronizing plastic particles contribute to inflammation? The doctor used the term “plasticosis” to describe inflammation from degrading polyethylene ...

Jambeck named Regents’ Professor

Jenna Jambeck, associate director of the UGA New Materials Institute, has been named a Regents' Professor, which is the highest professorial recognition awarded by the Georgia Board of Regents. Jenna Jambeck has been named a ...

UGA New Materials Institute to conduct 5 CB2 projects in 2023

Researchers and students from the University of Georgia New Materials Institute will participate in five sustainably-related projects funded by the Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites, or CB2, for 2023. The projects were selected by CB2’s ...

UGA’s Jenna Jambeck awarded MacArthur grant

Jenna Jambeck Jenna Jambeck, Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Georgia, was named a 2022 MacArthur Fellow on Wednesday (Oct. 12) for her work investigating the scale of plastic pollution ...

UGA researchers get feedback on current projects for CB2 and a glimpse of what’s ahead

The Industry Advisory Board for the Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites, or CB2, recently met to evaluate progress on 2022 research projects and to begin considering projects for 2023. Six current research projects, all led ...

Message in a (Plastic) Bottle

A local fisherman in Louisiana found and returned one of the plastic pollution tracking devices Jenna Jambeck had launched in St. Louis, Missouri, over a month earlier. Jenna Jambeck was enjoying family time on Memorial ...

Increasing circularity for organic waste to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Organic waste. (Getty Images) Walmart Foundation grant to UGA New Materials Institute will yield scalable strategies Improving the circular systems related to collection, recovery and management of organic waste will help local communities lower greenhouse ...

UGA New Materials Institute to conduct 6 projects for industry consortium

The University of Georgia New Materials Institute will pursue six sustainably-related research projects in 2022 that were recently funded by the Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites’ Industry Advisory Board. The project selections were finalized at ...
/ biocomposites, bioplastics, CB2, News, plastics

UGA scientists find eco-friendly way to dye blue jeans

Researchers from the University of Georgia developed a new indigo dyeing technology that’s kinder on the planet. The new technique reduces water usage and eliminates the toxic chemicals that make the dyeing process so environmentally ...

NSF funds Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites for Phase II

The Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites (CB2), co-located at North Dakota State University (NDSU; lead site), Iowa State University (ISU), Washington State University (WSU), and the University of Georgia (UGA), has been awarded Phase II ...

PHA-based microbeads biologically degrade in wastewater treatment facilities

A diverse ecosystem of microinvertebrates and -fauna was witnessed by researchers at the UGA New Materials Institute during recent field and laboratory studies to evaluate the degradation of cosmetic microbeads made from a polyhydroxyalkanoate, or ...

New composite material has potential for medical use

Professor Gajanan Bhat holds an elastic non woven material inside his lab at Riverbend Research Labs North. University of Georgia researchers have developed a new material with properties ideal for medical products such as masks ...
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CB2 looks forward: Membership growth, expanded research scope, greater opportunity

Current project updates, seed concept pitches for 2022, and the future direction of the Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites were all in focus as the Center, an Industry & University Cooperative Research Center funded by ...

UGA engineers are tackling single-use plastics

Jenna Jambeck is internationally recognized for her work to reduce plastic waste, and her research has spurred governments, industry and nonprofit organizations to protect ocean wildlife and ecosystem health by reducing plastic waste generation and ...

Study: PBG-PLA blends are less brittle, degrade faster in industrial composting

AFM image (3D height) of 15% PBG + 85% PLA, courtesy of the Locklin Group at the UGA New Materials Institute. Manufacturers that utilize polylactic acid (PLA) in products and packaging are well aware of ...

What do you know about composting? Take UGA’s survey by March 31.

Do you compost food or gardening waste? Do you know what compostable certification labels look like and what they mean when you see them on packaging? Regardless of your answers, if you live in the ...

UGA New Materials Institute Director Jason Locklin talks to NOVA about plastics

Jason Locklin, PhD, is director of the UGA New Materials Institute. Professor Locklin is jointly appointed to the College of Engineering, where he is a Distinguished Faculty Scholar, and to the Department of Chemistry in ...
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UGA scientist leads effort to help flexible films fully transition to compostable technologies

Evan White, of the UGA New Materials Institute, leads a fund-raising initiative aimed at helping the flexible films industry transition toward greater sustainability in packaging films used for consumer goods and food packaging. The initiative ...

UGA, BASF to conduct biological degradation studies for DOE-funded project

Biological degradation studies are conducted in a respirometer, in which each individual chamber simulates an environment where materials are broken down by microbes that live in that environment. The UGA New Materials Institute has constructed ...
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Biodegradable. Compostable. Recyclable. How helpful are product label claims?

Products and packaging labeled as “biodegradable” or “compostable” can confuse consumers and contaminate recycling streams. (Photo by Andrew Davis Tucker/UGA) Creating plastics, particularly packaging, is a complex endeavor. For example, multiple materials may be required ...

Locklin, Jambeck help lead effort to shape circular economy research

The University of Georgia New Materials Institute’s Jason Locklin and Jenna Jambeck are collaborating on a virtual workshop series aimed at shaping the future of circular economy research. Locklin, a professor of chemical engineering and ...

Students and Industry Partnering for the Planet: When Waste Leads to Good Business (from VentureWell’s blog)

Examples of innovative collaborations took center stage at a recent VentureWell virtualOPEN conference session on supporting sustainable design and addressing environmental issues. Attendees heard from Crystal Leach, director of Industry Collaboration at the University of ...
/ News

New Materials Institute pioneering replacements for plastic

Evan White, assistant research scientist at the UGA New Materials Institute, uses respirometry to characterize how plastics are biologically converted into innocuous compounds. White and his colleagues at the UGA NMI are working to develop ...

UGA bioplastics technologies fuel state’s economy

Dr. Branson W. Ritchie (left), a veterinary researcher; Daniel Carraway (center), a UGA alumnus who is co-founder and CEO of RWDC Industries; and Jason Locklin, a polymer chemist and director of the UGA New Materials ...
/ bioplastics, News, plastics

UGA-led projects for NSF-funded CB2 ‘on track’ for 2020

Two research projects that are being led by University of Georgia New Materials Institute received positive feedback at the spring meeting of the Industry Advisory Board for the Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites (CB2), a ...

Designing products for a better outcome following a useful life

Representatives from Shaw recently interviewed Jason Locklin, director of the UGA New Materials Institute, about the Institute’s research partnerships with industry and why the Institute focuses on single-use packaging as a means to reduce the ...

Jambeck named Distinguished Professor in Environmental Engineering

Jenna Jambeck, the Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor in Environmental Engineering, leads the UGA New Materials Institute's Center for Circular Materials Management. Jenna Jambeck, who directs the Center for Circular Materials Management within the UGA ...

Bioseniatic℠ Laboratory director discusses research on biologically-degradable materials

Evan M. White, an assistant research scientist at the UGA New Materials Institute and director of the Institute’s Bioseniatic℠ Laboratory, recently talked to WUGA-FM about researching and developing compostable materials designed for single-use packaging. White ...
/ News

UGA New Materials Institute to lead 2 projects for NSF-funded CB2

The UGA New Materials Institute will lead two projects selected for funding and research in 2020, as part of the Institute’s participation in the Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites (CB2), a National Science Foundation Industry—University ...

Renewable solutions for future materials featured at symposium held at UGA

Advances in materials science were recently featured at a two-day meeting held at UGA. Photo by Cal Powell. The th International Symposium on Materials from Renewables drew scientists from throughout the U.S. and Europe to ...

UGA New Materials Institute recognized by Shaw Industries for sustainability efforts

The University of Georgia’s New Materials Institute is one of 10 organizations to be highlighted over the coming year by Shaw Industries Group Inc., as part of the company’s new sustain[HUMAN]abilityTM recognition program. “We are ...
/ News, Uncategorized

UGA New Materials Institute is a finalist for economic development awards

Professor Jason Locklin, right, director of the New Materials Institute, discusses a research project with students in his laboratory. The New Materials Institute, a component of the UGA Office of Research with roots in the ...
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New Materials Institute hosts I/UCRC CB2 meeting

UGA President Jere Morehead welcomes members of the National Science Foundation Industry & University Cooperative Research Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites, known as CB2. The group was on campus in late May for its biannual ...

Jambeck to co-lead National Geographic’s Ganges expedition

University of Georgia College of Engineering researcher Jenna Jambeck will help lead an international, all-female expedition team that will study plastic pollution in one of the world’s most iconic waterways — the Ganges River (known ...

Locklin, others, recognized for contributions to research, innovation

Jason Locklin, left, receives an award from Donald J. Leo, dean of the UGA College of Engineering. Locklin is the director of the New Materials Institute. Jason Locklin, director of the UGA New Materials Institute, ...

Bromethalin is poisoning the parrots of Telegraph Hill

Bromethalin, a common rat poison, is the agent responsible for a neurological disease that has sickened or killed birds from a popular flock of naturalized parrots that reside primarily in the Telegraph Hill area in ...
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Walmart Foundation grant aimed at reducing plastic waste

potato chips bag on White background An $800,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation to the University of Georgia New Materials Institute will help researchers understand how multilayer plastic packaging biodegrades and also help manufacturers in ...

Lecture Series: How sustainable polymers can shape the future of plastics

Marc Hillmyer, director of the Center for Sustainable Polymers at the University of Minnesota and senior editor of Macromolecules, will present a lecture titled, "How sustainable polymers can shape the future of plastics," on March ...
/ News, Uncategorized

PHA development project featured in PRISM

Jason Locklin, director of the UGA New Materials Institute, recently talked to PRISM, the American Society for Engineering Education’s magazine, about the advantages and challenges of working with PHA, and how PHA can displace conventional ...
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Royal statistic of 2018: 90.5% of plastic not recycled

A finding from University of Georgia research has been named the 2018 International Statistic of the Year by the Royal Statistical Society. CNN International interviewed the College of Engineering’s Jenna Jambeck, who worked with colleagues ...

UGA New Materials Institute joins NSF-funded Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites

Athens, Ga.­­ – The University of Georgia New Materials Institute has been awarded a grant as the third site for the National Science Foundation’s Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites, or CB2, an Industry/University Cooperative Research ...

Micronizing ocean plastics threaten sea turtle populations, ocean life cycle

Ingestion of degrading ocean plastics likely poses a substantial risk to the survival of post-hatchling sea turtles because the particles can lead to blockages and nutritional deficiencies, according to new research from Loggerhead Marinelife Center and the University ...
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UGA to test first fully biodegradable plastic straw

A research team that includes partners from the University of Georgia New Materials Institute and the RWDC Environmental Stewardship Foundation will develop a fully biodegradable plastic straw thanks to an award from Singapore’s Temasek Foundation ...
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A novel ‘smart’ approach to metabolic engineering

Inspired by natural processes, UGA researchers used a genetic toolkit to build a metabolic sensor and control network that works in real time to regulate a cell’s production of a certain biochemical. Specifically, the researchers ...
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Recycling in U.S. is becoming more expensive, due to China and ‘dirty’ recycling

The global waste management market is shifting and the change is beginning to negatively impact the recycling industry in the United States. In Maine, a town in Hancock County plans to stop curbside recycling on ...

Study: PHA is an eco-friendly alternative to petrochemical plastics

A recent study from the UGA New Materials Institute found that polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) material is an eco-friendly alternative to petrochemical plastics and effectively biodegrades in aerobic or anaerobic environments, such as a landfill, waste treatment ...

NMI’s Jambeck talks to NPR

Jenna Jambeck talked to NPR about her quest to help people comprehend the world's plastic problem and to inspire solutions. Jambeck is co-director of the New Materials Institute and an associate professor of environmental engineering ...

NMI research team calculates impact of China’s ban on plastic waste imports

Athens, Ga. – While recycling is often touted as the solution to the large-scale production of plastic waste, upwards of half of the plastic waste intended for recycling is exported from higher income countries to other ...

A Growing Awareness about the Need for Sustainable Packaging

The New Materials Institute's Jenna Jambeck recently talked to Progressive Grocer about the affect local and national governmental policies are having on industry's attitudes regarding plastic packaging.[button target="_self" hover_type="default" font_style="normal" text_align="right" text="READ THE STORY" icon_color="#ffffff" ...

Jenna Jambeck is redesigning waste management

Right before Jenna Jambeck was returning to school to get her doctorate in environmental engineering in 2000, racing captain and oceanographer Charles Moore showed the industrialized world that its obsession with plastic had a cost ...

NMI hosts planning workshop for UGA to become third site for Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites

Demonstrating UGA’s broad expertise in polymer science, biochemical engineering, textiles and plant science, faculty members representing the New Materials Institute recently presented a range of project ideas as part of the NMI’s pitch to become a ...

Panel: Plastic kills marine life, is ubiquitous and has health implications for all

Since 1950, when 1.7 million metric tons of plastic was first produced worldwide, we’ve managed to pollute the entire planet with it: the oceans, fresh water systems, every continent, even the air. While you may ...

View the UIDP Webinar from December 2017 (Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites)

This webinar reviewed the strategic goals of a recently established Industry/University Cooperative Research Center supported by the National Science Foundation. Dr. Jason Locklin, director of the UGA New Materials Institute, was one of the presenters. The ...
/ News

Workshop will address plastic waste and marine debris

Athens, Ga. – Plastic: Land to Sea Connections, a workshop on the problem of plastic waste in our oceans and what we can do about it, will take place at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov ...
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More than 9 billion tons of plastic… and growing!

UGA Researcher Jenna Jambeck says that we need to know how much worldwide plastic waste there is before we can create a plan to tackle the problem. This is exactly what Jamback and her colleagues ...

Shades of Green: Scientists and engineers help turn ocean plastic into new products

Two years ago, socially conscious entrepreneurs Rob Ianelli and Ryan Schoenike founded their company, Norton Point, to manufacture sunglasses made from the huge amounts of plastic cleaned up from ocean coastlines Their goal was to be a part ...

Environmental engineer talks to middle schoolers about her marine debris tracker

Dr. Jenna Jambeck, director of the Center for Circular Materials Management - part of the New Materials Institute - talks to middle school students about her successful Marine Debris Tracker mobile app. Read the full ...
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Oceans could contain more plastic than fish by 2050: NMI’s Dr. Jenna Jambeck quoted in The Guardian

Corporations are recognizing the issues surrounding plastic pollution in the world's oceans and beginning to make changes. NMI's Dr. Jenna Jambeck is quoted in The Guardian Jenna Jambeck, associate professor of environmental engineering at the University ...
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Skidaway researchers track plastic fibers in coastal food chain

At UGA's Skidaway Institute researchers are looking for plastics in the coastal environment and they are finding them almost everywhere, but not in the form they expected. Instead of finding tiny chunks of plastic they’re finding ...
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NMI Information Summit

The New Materials Information Summit will take place on February 14 beginning at 9:00 am at the UGA Special Collections Library. This event is open to UGA Faculty and Staff who are interested in new ...
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New generation of manufacturers and scientists tackling global plastic waste crisis head on

 “We want all our materials kept in a circular management system to recapture the valuable resources in them.” Dr. Jenna Jambeck Associate  Professor College of Engineering NMI Lead Researcher, Dr. Jambeck, is quoted in the ...
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AFFOA Day: Fabric Revolution

About 90 leaders from the fabric and textile industry, along with researchers and military officials, discussed the future of fabrics and textiles in the digital era during AFFOA Industry Day at the University of Georgia ...
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Leaders in fabric, textiles area to gather at AFFOA Industry Day, scheduled for Oct. 20

Leaders from the fabric and textile industry will join researchers and military officials in Athens Oct. 20 to discuss the future of the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America partnership as part of the inaugural AFFOA ...
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UGA researchers join CDC in battle against antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Researchers at the University of Georgia will use a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to create next-generation medical device coatings that combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The CDC announced today that it ...
/ News

Sustainable dyeing technology gives UGA win at international chemistry challenge

A team of scientists from the University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences has won first prize in the inaugural Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge for an innovative and environmentally friendly textile dyeing ...
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Innovative projects earn funding from textiles association

Two graduate students in the Nanostructured Materials Laboratory have received funding from the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists for ongoing research projects. Raha Saremi, a Ph.D. student and graduate research assistant within the textiles, ...
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Researchers present new technique of nanofiber production

UGA researchers in the Nanostructured Materials Laboratory have proposed a faster, more efficient and scalable method of production of nanofibers that may have implications on tissue engineering, nonwoven textiles for personal care and biosensors. When ...
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