Advancing material innovation to address the polymer waste crisis
June 12, 2023
Products made from polymers — ranging from plastic bags to clothing to cookware to electronics — provide many comforts and support today’s standard of living, but since they do not decompose easily, they pose long-term environmental challenges. Developing polymers with a more sustainable life cycle is a critical step in making progress toward a green economy, but the development of biodegradable polymers remains limited by current biodegradation testing methods. To address this limitation, a team of MIT researchers led by Bradley Olsen, the Alexander and I. Michael Kasser (1960) Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, has developed an expansive biodegradation dataset to help determine whether or not a polymer is biodegradable.