At the heart of Green Engineering principles is the idea that we must consider product end-of-life at the design stage. This means thinking about managing materials before any “waste” is produced.
Lead: Jason Locklin
The Center for Advanced Polymers, Fibers & Coatings has a single goal: to develop materials and plastic replacements that completely break down and return to nature when discarded — either in soil, water, or marine environments.
The Center for Advanced Polymers, Fibers & Coatings partners with companies to help them design and optimize healthier materials for use in packaging and products, such as building materials, clothing, diapers, car parts, toys and other common items. We utilize the principles of Green Engineering to develop durable polymers, fibers and coatings based on biodegradable, bio-benign, and recycled or recovered materials that combine high efficiency, mechanical robustness, permeability and flexibility. Our materials are engineered so that they do not release metals, toxins or other persistent chemicals into our environment.
Lead: Jenna Jambeck
Historically, solid waste management has been a very reactive system. We have designed waste management infrastructure around the quantities and types of waste that are generated (up to 2.5 billion metric tons globally). The goal of the Center for Circular Materials Management (C2M2) is to shift the paradigm to proactive materials management.
This means thinking about managing materials before any “waste” is produced. And instead of thinking of our systems as linear models of produce > consume > dispose, consider byproducts and discards as inputs to other systems, mimicking what we observe in nature with cycles of nutrients.