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Can you go 24 hours without using an item that is either packaged in plastic or is made in whole, or in part, from plastic? For much of the world, this is virtually impossible to do. Plastic is ubiquitous. And, conventionally-designed plastics are persistent in our environment. The New Materials Institute envisions a world where products and packaging are made from healthier materials and generate less waste.

Designing eco-friendly materials

An estimated 6.8 million metric tons of trash is generated globally every day.  Much of that waste originates from single-use packaging — used for shipping materials, water bottles, food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Worldwide, packaging designed for immediate disposal comprises the largest market sector for plastic resins.

A lot of the global waste problem is due to plastics, but not all of it. Whether you are looking at materials used to build homes, businesses, textiles, or staring down into an empty paper coffee cup, a lot of materials you think are recyclable are actually not. That’s where we come in.

A safer, healthier tomorrow

The UGA New Materials Institute works toward a safer, healthier tomorrow by partnering with industry, businesses, governments, foundations and other organizations to redesign materials and systems based on Green Engineering principles. With industry and businesses, we partner to redesign plastics, fibers and coatings used in packaging, building materials and textiles so that these materials are bio-based and fully biodegradable, and therefore safe for people, animals and our environment. We also work with governments, foundations and other organizations to redesign existing systems for better waste management practices, and, we work with businesses to help design products made from recycled materials or to help them redesign manufacturing practices to create less waste and be more environmentally friendly.

Our goal is to design ecologically-friendly materials, products and systems that generate ideally zero waste, and, to promote circularity of materials — or, proactive materials management — so that materials viewed as disposable are instead viewed as resources, or inputs, for/to other systems. We believe proactive materials design and management are part of our social and ecological responsibilities, as we want to leave a healthier, cleaner, planet for future generations of people and animals to enjoy.

Training a new generation on the principles of Green Engineering

As we work, we also train future engineers to consider Green Engineering principles in everything they do, with the hope that they pass along our philosophy to future generations.

Thank you for your support!