Read the full story from PBS NewsHour.
The products many of us purchase on a regular basis — the water bottles, clothes and, perhaps especially in the era of COVID, take-out containers from our local restaurants — are often plastic, disposable and bound to outlive us for generations. But the enormous amount of plastic waste that humans leave behind is a logistical and ecological nightmare, and experts say potential solutions must be approached from multiple angles, both for the planet’s sake and for our own.
Chemical engineer Paul Dauenhauer of the University of Minnesota has dedicated his career to revolutionizing the materials we rely on most. He’s worked to derive crucial “chemical building blocks” from renewable resources that can be used to manufacture existing products, as well as create entirely new alternatives.