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Industrial Outreach & Engagement

Penn State Behrend is home to a world-class Plastics Engineering Technology department that is closely tied to the Plastics Industry at the regional, national and international level. Lenny Koh of AREC visited the Penn State Behrend campus to guage the interest and to explore the need for a comprehensive Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) strategy for the single-use plastics industry.

Fourteen companies, including Plastek, Berry Plastics, General Motors, and Shell Polymers, attended.   Leadership from each company collectively shared their interest in working closely with Penn State research experts. Insight to pressing circular economy questions, industrial assumptions with regard to the value of Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and concerns about viable recycling options were captured.

A new AREC center in Erie, would be of significant benefit due to the large concentration of plastics related businesses in this region.  It would allow us better access to sustainability resources and therefore be more responsive to our customers on these matters.  We expect that we would be able to offer our customers more economical solutions due to the local availability of supply chain and sustainability research that an AREC would provide.” 

-Kathi Gillespi, Plastek