University of Akron Recycling Expert Talks Combating Plastics Waste

This Earth Day, we'll talk about what a research team at the University of Akron is doing to help combat plastics waste. [chaiyapruek youprasert/shutterstock]
This Earth Day, we'll talk about what a research team at the University of Akron is doing to help combat plastics waste. [chaiyapruek youprasert/shutterstock]
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In honor of Earth Day, we're talking about plastic. 
Plastics pose a huge problem for the environment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that only 8.7 percent of all plastics are recycled. That's as of 2018, and amounts to only about 3 million tons. In that same year, 27 million tons of plastic, were buried in landfills. 

And this problem is only going to continue to grow. It makes economic sense to producers, as it is much cheaper to make virgin plastic out of oil, than to make plastic from plastic trash. The oil industry makes more than 400 billion dollars a year, just by making plastics. With numbers like those, analysts predict plastic production will triple, by 2050. 

But that plastic doesn't just fill up our landfills. It ends up in our oceans, and in our drinking water, in the form of "microplastics".
  
The pandemic further complicated matters, because we were told to stop bringing our reusable shopping bags to the grocery store, due to concern about spreading the coronavirus. And we ordered a lot of takeout, which uses a lot of 'single use' plastic containers. 

So what do we do about all this? A local recycling and sustainability expert from the University of Akron, Dr. James Eagan, joined Rick Jackson on The Sound of Ideas to talk about his research to create a more environmentally-friendly polymer.

Later in the hour, we'll talk to a national psychologist who shares advice on how to start strengthening our social muscles again, as the country re-opens. And, ideastream Senior Arts Reporter, David C. Barnett talks about the latest in the Equity in Arts series. 

 

Resources

CWRU's Virtual Think Forum Featuring Dr. Dacher Keltner

Thursday, April 29, 5 p.m. EDT

Dacher Keltner, compassion researcher, author, & psychology professor

Topic: 21st Century Power: Principles, Practices, and Positive Social Change

Guests: 

-Dr. James Eagan, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering, The University of Akron 
-Dacher Keltner, Professor of Psychology & Director of the Social Interaction Lab, University of California, Berkeley

-David C. Barnett, Senior Arts Reporter, ideastream

Ohio Channel On-Demand Video

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