Berkeley Lab

Panel Discussion: Materials Discovery and Design to Enable a Circular Materials Economy

By Francesca Toma

Panelists: Martin Mulvihill – Safer Made, Justin Bours – Cradle to Cradle; Peter Christensen – Berkeley Lab, Julie Schoenung – UC Irvine, Linda Gaines – Argonne National Lab

The Circular Materials Economy Symposium hosted a panel discussions with speakers and audience. In circular economy, it is important to understand that the end of the cycle is the most important step. However, currently, circularity is not always the way to go. For example, recycling paper requires a lot of fossil fuels, and sometimes biodegradable packaging ends up contributing to methane emissions (worse than CO2!) in landfills.

So where do we start? 

Without materials that are not inherently circular you cannot build circularity. One also wants to consider that most products are not designed towards recycling. To start thinking about sustainability, it is important to talk to industry and understand their needs to unlock new opportunities. We need to start justifying our materials choices in terms of sustainability and circularity. The future is on us!

See related blog post: Materials Selection in the Circular Economy: Choosing Safer Alternatives