Sustainable Polymers Square Table Final Report

03 August 2021, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


This is the final report from a NSF-sponsored Square Table on Sustainable Polymers that brought together a diverse cohort of stakeholders to develop broad-ranging, integrated, and futuristic ideas and strategies in the area of sustainable polymers. The Square Table included emerging and established leaders from a wide range of backgrounds and institutional types such that a clear picture of the key challenges and needs were developed. Over the course of two half-day sessions, a group of more than 50 participants (see Appendix 1) discussed strategies for advancing the science, technology, and more overarching systems associated with sustainable polymers. The Square Table concept provides structure and self-facilitated interactions among stakeholders who do not typically interact with one another to bridge gaps that exist between industry, federal agencies, and academia in an open and unbiased manner. This was accomplished by mixing participants in breakout discussion with guiding questions, followed by reporting back to the group and repeating with a new mix of participants, questions, and discussion points. Select participants that not only contributed to the discussion but also acted as scribes for sub-sessions were essential to help capture the sum of the views, suggestions, and inputs from the participants. In this way, the discussions cut to the root cause of successes and opportunities in a rapid and less biased manner than traditional roundtables or workshops. The Square Table objectives included developing proposed answers to key questions such as (1) What are the critical basic and applied questions that, when addressed together, could improve the possibility for impact in terms of moving fundamental research thrusts and translational efforts? (2) What prevents large-scale, coordinated efforts between industry, academia, and federal agencies? (3) What is needed to help reduce these barriers in terms of data resources, physical infrastructure, and/or workforce training? (4) How can data and advanced modeling approaches be shared in a collaborative way that would allow data-driven science and engineering to be accelerated in a translational sense? (5) What partnerships are needed to foster an environment/culture to realize more sustainable polymer solutions in the future?


Sustainable Polymers
Green Chemistry
Biodegradable Polymers
Plastics Recycling
Renewable Polymers
Data Science
Computational Polymer Science
Sustainability Education
Life Cycle Analysis
Polymer Chemical Recycling


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