Project Info

Exploring sustainable design for plastics & bioplastics

Amy Landis

Project Goals and Description:

Plastics have been playing a vital role in the present day industrialized economy, resulting in the growing amount of plastic waste in the environment. This project helps us identify sustainable solutions for the prevalent industry of plastics. We will not only look at end of life of plastics, but we will use sustainability tools like life cycle assessment, material flow analysis, and techno-economic analysis to look at manufacture and see where we are using these plastics. If we know where we are using certain plastics, how much quantities, and then where they go, we can make design changes to the types of plastics that are used for certain applications and perhaps impact the total environmental impacts and sustainability of the system. We know some plastics get recycled, but most of them go through other waste management methods. One of the knowledge gaps is plastics lost to the environment, plastics lost directly to the ocean. This work can improve our understanding of where we might make design changes, material changes, or insert new types of plastics to improve plastics waste management and loss. Using these tools during the design phase while designing these new solutions ensures that we avoid unintended consequences and make truly sustainable decisions. All of this helps us to understand where circular economy opportunities lie, which is a focus in various system solutions research that tackle global challenges.

More Information:

Grand Challenge: Provide access to clean water.

Primary Contacts:

Student Preparation


basic excel, algebra. we will teach you the software and coding you'll need for the project.




Students will learn or hone scientific research and writing skills, gain increased understanding of plastics material flows, develop skills in sustainability tools like material flow analysis (MFA) & Life cycle analysis (LCA), and gain increased understanding of circular economy sustainable solutions


The student will meet one-on-one, weekly or bi-weekly with LSRG graduate students and post doc (and Dr. Amy Landis as needed) for project planning and progress reports. The graduate student mentors will also be available to the student throughout the fellowship to answer questions and assist with technical skills development. When available, the student will also join weekly LSRG meetings to participate in professional development activities


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