About $4.5 million is being awarded to the University at Buffalo to create a new plastic recycling research and innovation center and support crucial work to reduce plastic waste.
The expanded university partnership will improve plastics recycling by researching the development of secondary recyclable markets to ease the financial burdens of municipal recycling programs and streamline the recycling process, especially with certain types of lower-grade plastics.
“Reducing plastics and other waste is essential to creating a cleaner environment and meeting the goals of New York’s ambitious Climate Act,” said the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) of the state, Basil Seggos. “This state-funded investment will allow one of New York’s leading research universities, along with its team of faculty and students, to come up with creative solutions to bolster the state’s globally recognized authority on research and innovation on plastics recycling.
The creation of the New York State Center for Plastic Recycling Research and Innovation builds on an existing state-funded academic partnership with the University at Buffalo to conduct plastics recycling research focused on improving the quality of source separation and commercialization. Supported by the state’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), the additional $4.5 million announced today will help address a range of contemporary plastics recycling issues with the goal of boosting recycling plastics in New York and beyond.
“The University at Buffalo is committed to addressing regional and global environmental challenges through multidisciplinary scholarship and innovation,” said Kemper Lewis, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “Working with partners such as the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, we will advance the science and technology of plastics recycling while increasing our impact in promoting a cleaner environment. healthier and more equitable in New York State and beyond.”
“Careful investments like this from DEC will ensure that New York State plays a leadership role in developing innovative strategies for plastics recycling and will help make recycling initiatives more effective,” said the principal investigator. of the project and the director of the center, Amit Goyal, professor emeritus SUNY. at the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at UB. “We are so grateful to DEC staff, Commissioner Seggos, and Governor Hochul’s office for their leadership and partnership with academia in enabling a cleaner, greener Empire State for all. The UB team is uniquely positioned to develop innovative solutions for plastics recycling. We are excited to expand on our current project with DEC on assessing and improving plastic recycling as well as developing outreach and education programs. We look forward to embarking on this new initiative on plastics recycling and innovation. »
A multidisciplinary team will lead the Centre’s work by integrating social sciences, economics, communication, engineering, plastics (polymers) and materials science. The Center will engage university professors, senior scientists and other researchers, recycling industry experts and DEC staff and will focus on several tasks:
Map the reverse plastic supply in New York State and dive into the structure of the collection, disposal and recycling industries;
Improve the efficiency of companies involved in the collection and processing of plastics in New York State;
• Plastics in natural environments, including microplastics
• Plastics in the New York State agricultural/food and medical industries
• Better understand contemporary attitudes towards current recycling behaviors
• Advanced high-speed plastic sorting by molecular contract infrared imaging
• Fund several university and community projects
Funding for the center comes from the EPF. Among many environmental victories in the 2022-23 state budget, Governor Kathy Hochul succeeded in boosting the EPF from $300 million to $400 million, the highest funding level ever in the program’s history. .
Additional information about these efforts and DEC’s ongoing waste reduction education efforts can be found at: https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/294.html