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Wednesday
October 31, 2018
7:00-8:30 PM

Kirkwood Station Brewing Co., Kirkwood, MO

Can Plastics Be Sustainable?

William B. Tolman, Ph.D.

William B. Tolman, Ph.D.
Professor of Chemistry

Moderated by: Cynthia Wichelman, M.D.


Plastics are critical for everyday life and for myriad important applications, yet they pose major challenges, too. In particular, petroleum-derived plastics are significant pollutants, because they don't readily degrade—and often end up in the ocean, in the “Great Pacific garbage patch”—and are rarely recycled. Can we rethink how plastics are made and unmade, in order to develop useful plastics that degrade after use into innocuous compounds? We'll discuss current research focused on preparing useful new plastics from renewable plant sources—rather than petroleum—that are also readily degradable and, thus, sustainable. In addition to presenting the problem and the scientific approaches being taken, the larger technological, economic and environmental implications will be examined. The answer to the title question is “yes,” and we'll talk about how to make it happen!

Science On Tap highlighted on St. Louis Public Radio and Voice of America!

Science On Tap sponsored by Washington University in St. Louis is always a free event, where anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. Meetings take place outside of a traditional academic context, at the Kirkwood Station Restaurant & Brewing Co.


Meetings are held on the last Wednesday of the month during the academic year, usually from 7:00 - 8:30 PM. The standard format is as follows: about 45 minutes of presentation, followed by discussion until 8:30 PM.

Kirkwood Station Restaurant & Brewing Co.
105 E. Jefferson Ave.
Kirkwood, MO 63122
(314)966-2739

Register to receive e-mail announcements of future Science On Tap events.

Interested in learning about medicine? Check out Washington University's Mini-Medical School!

For more information: e-mail scienceontap@wustl.edu
or call (314) 935-9495

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