"Environment" research area

Remediation of Environmental Plastics

Event Date: 
Wednesday, March 3, 2021 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm

In this MnDRIVE Listening Session we will explore the topic of "remediating environmental plastics for reuse". Participants will hear from industry and university researchers about their ongoing efforts to recycle, repurpose, and reuse different types of plastics in more sustainable and circular ways. Topics will include chemical/molecular recycling, bioplastics manufacturing, sustainable polymers, and microbial/enzymatic degradation of plastics.

This March 3 event is from 1 to 3 PM (CT) and is open to the public. It will be most valuable for university, industry, and state agency researchers and those professionals actively working on plastics related contamination, recycling, or reuse efforts. We encourage University researchers from all campuses to participate. Those that join us will hear from a variety of speakers and all participants will have the opportunity to engage via breakout groups.


1:00 - Welcome

1:05 - Overview of MnDRIVE Environment

1:10 - Invited Speaker

Brett Barney, Faculty - College of Biological Sciences, UMNBrett Barney

Title - Problematic Plastics in Water/Soil/Solid Waste

1:25 - Invited Speaker

claire sandClaire Sand, Owner - Packaging Technology and Research , LLC

Title - Industry Perspectives and Opportunities for Sustainable Food Packaging

1:40 - Invited Speaker

allie nelsonAllie Nelson, Senior Packaging Engineer - Ecolab

Title - Packaging Development for the Circular Economy

1:50 - Invited Speaker

dauenhauer photo

Paul Dauenhauer, Faculty - College of Science and Engineering, UMN

TitleTechnology for Perfectly Recyclable Plastics and Materials

2:10 - Invited Lightning Talks

melissa maurer jones

Melissa Maurer Jones, Faculty (UMN-Duluth)

Title - Breakdown of Polymers in the Environment


Colin Pierce, PhD Candidate (UMN)

Title - Engineering Bacteria to Degrade Polyethylene Terephthalate


Derek Batiste, PhD Candidate (UMN)

Title - Sustainable Polyurethane Elastomers

2:30 - Breakout Discussion Groups

2:55 - Wrap Up

Please use the registration link below to sign up and receive a calendar invite. A finalized agenda and the Zoom link will be shared with registered participants prior to the event.


Plastics are everywhere in our environment - our soil, water, and air. Despite local, regional, and global efforts to recycle plastics, merely 10% of all plastics produced in the past 70 years have been recycled at least once.