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January 8, 2024

BETO Releases Summary Report Following Transition to Sustainable, Circular Economy for Plastics Workshop

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced on December 20, 2023, that it released a summary report following its June 8-9, 2023, Workshop: Transitioning to a Sustainable, Circular Economy for Plastics. The workshop, hosted by BETO in partnership with DOE’s Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office and the Climate Pledge coalition, brought together stakeholders from industry, academia, national laboratories, and non-profit organizations to provide input on current challenges and opportunities to addressing and reducing plastic waste in oceans and landfills. BETO states that this input “is critical to advancing DOE’s vision for its Strategy for Plastics Innovation to develop and deploy technologies that minimize plastic waste and promote energy-efficient and economical plastic and bioplastic reuse and recycling.”

According to BETO, the following key themes emerged from the workshop to inform future research needs:

  • Harmonization of policies and regulations;
  • Improved data, insight, and tools for assessing impact;
  • Expanded plastic feedstock amount and quality;
  • New business models to expand reuse;
  • Material and recycling technology innovation; and
  • Collaboration as key enabler.

According to the summary report, DOE will consider workshop feedback when developing programmatic plans in support of the Strategy for Plastics Innovation and the circular economy. In addition to the summary report, the workshop presentations are also available online.