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From Trash to Treasure: Plastics and Sustainability

Frank Leibfarth, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry
October 19th, 2024 6 – 7:30PM – This event has ended.

In support of UNC Research Week 2023 which highlights the incredible impact our researchers and students are making in our state and beyond as the world around them changes.

By the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. A large, boat sized clear plastic bottle floats at the surface of the water. Underwater, more empty plastic bottles can be seen piling up.What is UNC doing to address this problem? Frank Leibfarth is leading research efforts to turn plastics into useful materials. Enough plastic pellets are produced in the world each day to fill a modern football stadium. While plastic improves our quality of life in countless ways, we are beginning to realize the significant environmental and societal cost of plastic waste. This lecture will provide a history of plastic production, how it is essential to modern society, and what innovations are needed to move towards a more circular plastics economy.

Dr. Frank Leibfarth is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at UNC-Chapel Hill. He leads research efforts to turn plastics into useful materials. He was an NSF
Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT, and was named among “Talented 12” by Chemical & Engineering News.