Environmental Science Division (EVS)a Division of Argonne National Laboratory
Predictive environmental understanding

Argonne innovations and technology to help drive circular economy

March 24, 2021

Argonne is among the advocates of a growing trend called the “circular economy” that shifts from the linear practice of “produce, use and toss” to an integrated circular strategy of “recover, recycle and reuse,” where products are designed from the beginning to avoid waste and be less harmful.

The strategy implies a perfect combination of innovation, technology, and consumer and manufacturer mindsets, and ensures that recycling consumes less energy and resources than it does today.

As one of Argonne's efforts to promote a circular economy, EVS Division Director Cristina Negri is collaborating with researchers from across the lab and other research institutions on efforts to design plastic material with reuse in mind, focusing on how it might degrade in specific environments and what it might degrade into.

Negri and her colleagues are developing an environmental framework meant to guide the creation of these new polymers and steer manufacturers away from those that pose a potential risk to the environment.

“Much in the same way we introduce engineering controls to stay safe at work, an environmentally responsible new product is one that is designed from the start to be benign in the environment,” says Negri.

Read the full article by John Spizzirri.

[Source: BsWei/Shutterstock.]
portrait of M. Cristina Negri