All Courses

  • Flexible Plastic Packaging: Industry Landscape, Challenges and Opportunities

    Margaret Sobkowicz, an Associate Professor of Plastics Engineering at UMass Lowell, is presenting this flexible plastic packaging webinar. The use of flexible and multilayer plastic packaging has been increasing over the past several decades. This type of packaging is highly functional, but it presents challenges in the conventional plastics recycling paradigm. With global concerns over single-use plastics waste, there is an urgent need to understand these flexible materials and how to improve their collection, sorting and reprocessing. This webinar will cover the composition and structure of typical flexible packaging types, discuss current options for recycling these materials, and share recent results from REMADE-funded work on this topic.

  • Metal Recycling

    During this one hour webinar, Dr. Michael Free will provide an overview of metals recycling. He will discuss the sources of metal scrap and the processes by which metals are separated and recycled into purified metals. Dr. Free will cover specific details for steel, aluminum, copper, and precious metals recycling, and he will discuss the opportunities for future recycling and the inherent economic and environmental values in metals recycling. Michael Free is a Professor of Metallurgical Engineering at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. His areas of expertise include corrosion, electrometallurgy, hydrometallurgy, and materials synthesis.

  • New Technology Recovers Aluminum from Industrial Scrap Metal

    Electrodynamic sorting (EDX) is a new form of eddy current separation developed at the University of Utah. Rather than rotate a cylindrical drum of permanent magnets, this technology excites a stationary electromagnet with an alternating electrical current. The resulting frequency of excitation is far greater than anything which can be achieved through mechanical rotation, allowing the separation of nonferrous metals from other nonferrous metals. In its present embodiment, the assembly is capable of processing over 1 ton of industrial Zorba per hour. After passing through the magnetic field, lightweight aluminum particles are thrown up and over a mechanical divider, resulting in an enriched 97 % aluminum product. Recovery of the aluminum is also very high, with typical values ranging between 80—90 %. James R. Nagel, PhD is a research associate in the Department of Metallurgical Engineering at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City. His technical expertise is in applied electromagnetics with an emphasis on numerical methods and field propagation.

  • Paper Recycling: Challenged by Both Quality and Convenience

    During this webinar, Dr. Nurcin Celik provided an overview of paper recycling and the challenges it faces today with the ever-increasing prevalence of single stream recycling. She discussed the sources and types of paper and the processes by which they are separated and recycled into quality paper products. Dr. Celik also discussed how these challenges could be turned into new economic and environmental opportunities for future recycling.

  • Paper Recycling: Challenges and Opportunities in a Paper Remanufacturing Process

    Paper is one of the most recycled materials globally today. Producing paper with recycled fibers consumes 30-70% less energy and emits less greenhouse gas than using virgin (fresh-cut) wood. However, with the current paper recovery practice, more foreign matters are commingled with recycled paper which includes plastic films, metal foils, glass debris, and food residues. In addition, more and more additives are added to the current papermaking or converting processes such as inorganic fillers, starch, wet-strength polymers, wax, and coating materials, which will become “contaminants” in the paper remanufacturing. Contaminants in the recycled paper not only make the paper remanufacturing process more costly but also affect the quality of the paper remanufactured. In this webinar, Dr. Kecheng Li will present an overview of the paper recycling process with a focus on the challenging issues in the paper remanufacturing process. Dr. Kecheng Li is a professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Paper Engineering at Western Michigan University. He has more than 20 years of experience in pulp and paper research and technology development.

  • The Technology of Plastic Recycling

    Join REMADE Institute’s thought leader and expert in polymers and recycling, Brian Riise, as he shares his perspective on the technology of plastic recycling in the US. Less than 10% of the plastics discarded in the US are recovered for recycling, with the remainder (over 30 million tons per year) ending up in landfills. In this webinar, you'll learn more about: Technologies available to recycle waste plastics. Review existing and emerging technologies available for cleaning, separating, purifying, and compounding these waste plastics into high-quality pellets suitable for use in new products. Address the limitations of mechanical recycling and areas where chemical recycling might be viable options.

  • Plastic Waste Valorization for a Circular Economy: Perspective on Chemical Recycling

    More than eight billion tons of plastic waste has accumulated worldwide over the past 50 years. The majority (80%) of the waste goes directly into landfills and 3% ends up in the oceans. At the current rate, we will end up having more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. Plastics are persistent in the environment and degrade slowly (over a century), releasing fragments, microplastics, and toxic chemicals into our lands, rivers, and oceans. In particular, single-use packaging, textile, and composite plastic such as e-waste are attributed to more than 50% of the plastic waste. This webinar will discuss: 1) The bottleneck of conventional plastic recycling; 2) State-of-the-art emerging chemical recycling methods (e.g., pyrolysis, chemolysis, and hydrothermal processes) 3) Case studies about using chemical recycling to reuse the end-of-life waste. Ultimately, the Plastic & Environment Research Laboratory (PERL) at University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell) aims to develop affordable and competitive plastic recycling technologies to encourage the use of environment-friendly products and educate younger generations on sustainable technology. Prof. Grace Chen directs PERL at UMass Lowell. Prof. Chen’s current research focuses on four topics: 1) Chemical recycling of plastic waste into fuels, polymers, and chemicals, 2) Biofuel and bioplastic material development, 3) Microplastic pollution mitigation, and 4) Green solvent formulation. Her lab is equipped with reactors for hydrothermal processing of plastic waste and biowaste, as well as characterizations for fuel/polymer products. Also, her lab has a license to a specialized software, Hansen Solubility Parameters in Practice (HSPiP), to study plastic dissolution, coating removal, and packaging failure mechanisms. The Chen Group’s research program contributes to the development of new multi-disciplinary materials on the topic of plastic waste recycling, biomaterial synthesis, and sustainability analysis.

  • Recycling Challenges in a Medium-Sized City

    Medium-sized cities face some unique and some not so unique challenges in recycling. Stillwater, Oklahoma faces many of these in its curbside and drop-off recycling programs. Stillwater is city of about 50,000 people and also home to another 25,000 students from Oklahoma State University and Northern Oklahoma College. It is located in a rural region of North-Central OK and is 70+ miles from the major metropolitan areas of Tulsa and Oklahoma City. To address the community's interest and its long-term commitment to recycling, the Stillwater, OK City Council commissioned a citizen's task force to examine and suggest solutions for its current and future recycling needs. This webinar will report on the city's challenges, proposed solutions from the task force report and planned city actions relative to recycling. The goal of this webinar is to share lessons and insights for the benefit of other municipalities facing similar challenges. Professor Frank Blum will also highlight his REMADE Institute-funded project focused on increasing recycling of bottles and carpeting materials by combining both into valuable composite materials. Increasing value of the recycled materials will motivate collection, recovery and recycle rates.

  • Sorting and Impurity Removal to Improve the Recycling of Steel Scrap from Auto Shredders

    Commercially available options and processes in development for sortation of automobile steel scrap were evaluated to determine if there may be a viable method to remove some of the undesirable impurities prior to feeding to an electric arc furnace. This evaluation included industry surveys of current practice and literature, patent and vendor surveys. The issues with sortation relate to the size of the material and the mode of occurrence of the impurities in the scrap. If this method for the reduction of impurities is possible, then the amount of primary iron (along with energy use) could be reduced. Two potential methods were evaluated (optical recognition - machine learning and blue laser diodes), For the treatment of molten steel containing Cu, several alternatives (chemical and metallurgical) were evaluated and two methods were selected for study Theoretical concepts and methods of steel scrap purification were investigated along with details regarding the practical applicability and energy and emissions impacts. This would allow control of alloy composition to closer limits, with the benefit of improving the properties and simultaneously reducing the need for degassing and grain refinement additives.

  • E-Waste Challenges and Opportunities

    Dr. Callie Babbitt, Associate Professor, Sustainability at the Golisano Institute of Sustainability at RIT, will present an informative webinar on E-Waste Challenges and Opportunities. Emerging electronic products have changed the way we work, communicate, and socialize. However, this digital transition comes with a high cost to the environment, including mining of scarce minerals, increasing use of electricity during operation, and the question of how to manage these products when they become obsolete. This webinar will overview major trends in electronic waste generation and management in the U.S. over the last 25 years and present forecasted estimates about how this complex waste stream will change in the future as new gadgets are introduced.

  • Non-Destructive Evaluation of Fatigue Damage Based on Sensor Fusion and Machine Learning

    On World Remanufacturing Day, come learn about innovation at the REMADE Institute through a sneak peak of a REMADE-funded project in remanufacturing. The presentation will include a brief project overview and live Q & A. This is especially recommended for participants new to the REMADE Institute. Non-destructive evaluation (NDE) of fatigue damage in recycled materials is essential to maximize the benefits of utilizing such materials for remanufacturing. We will present an innovative NDE technology that smartly combines the strengths of multiple NDE methods (e.g., acoustic emission, infrared imaging, linear ultrasound, and nonlinear ultrasound) using machine learning. This technology is expected to achieve a 10–15% improvement in the prediction accuracy of remaining useful life compared to existing methods.

  • Redefining Value - The Manufacturing Revolution

    Please join us for a REMADE and Remanufacturing Industries Council sponsored webinar to learn more about this important report: Redefining Value – The Manufacturing Revolution. Remanufacturing, Refurbishment, Repair, and Direct Reuse in the Circular Economy, released by Dr. Nabil Nasr on behalf of the United Nations Environment Program's International Resource Panel (IRP).