The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) and Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) have released the Plastics for a Circular Economy Workshop: Summary Report. This report summarizes the results of a BETO and AMO co-sponsored public workshop held in Denver, Colorado, on December 11-12, 2019. This workshop was held as part of the Plastics Innovation Challenge, a comprehensive DOE program to accelerate innovations in energy-efficient plastics recycling technologies.
The Plastics for a Circular Economy Workshop provided a forum for stakeholders from industry, academia, and National Laboratories to discuss the challenges associated with plastic waste. Plastic waste in the environment, including the ocean, poses a unique problem for stakeholders. New technology may reduce plastic in the environment, but without approaches to mitigate virgin plastic production, plastic waste accumulation will continue.
This workshop report highlights discussions concerning the development of new plastics materials that are recyclable by design or biodegradable and ways to reduce existing plastic waste. Specific topics included key challenges and opportunities facing biological and chemical recycling, composite recycling, flexible packaging, end of life consequences, and redesigning a recycling system for the future.