The Lawrence Hall of Science
The public science center of the University of California, Berkeley.
10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
On a visit to The Lawrence, students collaborate to investigate new ideas as they become scientists and engineers for a day.
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Plastic is inexpensive, easy to manufacture, and almost impossible to recycle or biodegrade effectively. As a result, roughly 8.3 billion tons of plastic have been produced globally to date—three quarters of which exist as waste. Dr. Aaron Hall and Dr. Jeremy Demarteau take different approaches to the same problem.
What if, instead of persisting for eons, plastics could degrade away as easily as fallen leaves? Or, what if plastic could be recycled without losing the properties that make it so useful? In recognition of Earth Day, we’re presenting two researchers who are attempting to make these what-ifs a reality. Dr. Aaron Hall will explain how plastic-degrading enzymes may help break up plastic in soil as easily as food scraps. Berkeley Lab scientist Dr. Jeremy Demarteau is taking a different approach to the same monstrous problem. He and his colleagues are developing a new class of plastics which are infinitely recyclable. Both approaches could reshape the future of plastics.
Dr. Aaron Hall
Founder & CEO, Intropic Materials;
Entrepreneurial Research Fellow, Activate Cyclotron Road, Berkeley Lab; Dept. of Materials Science & Engineering, UC Berkeley
Dr. Jeremy Demarteau
Sustainable Polymer Project Scientist,
Molecular Foundry Division,
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