Advanced Recycling: Combining Science and Sustainability

Rice University’s Dr. Rachel Meidl and CCNY’s Dr. Marco Castaldi dive into the science behind advanced recycling.

On the last episode of Sustainably Speaking, we discussed how advanced recycling helps communities find new uses and value in used plastics while keeping plastic waste out of the environment. How does this process work? Advanced recycling companies rely on scientists to help inform their technologies, processes, data and analysis… all necessary to creating a circular economy for plastics.

On this episode of Sustainably Speaking, Joshua Baca is joined by Dr. Rachel Meidl of Rice University’s Baker Institute and Dr. Marco Castaldi of City College of New York to dive into the science behind advanced recycling, how it differs from traditional recycling, what it means for the lifecycle of plastic materials and the role it plays in circularity.

On This Episode:

Dr. Rachel Meidl

Dr. Rachel A. Meidl, LP.D., CHMM, is a fellow in energy and environment at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. Her research focuses on sustainability; circular economy strategies; life cycle management of hazardous materials and wastes; safety and environmental regulations of the treatment, storage, disposal, and transportation of materials and wastes; assessing plastics policies, advanced recycling technologies and alternative energy applications to understand the environmental, economic, and social impacts across the supply chain; and resiliency of the energy industry.

Dr. Meidl was previously appointed as Deputy Associate Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration in Washington, D.C. where she led the agency’s domestic and international strategy, policy, and programs of hazardous materials on behalf of the U.S. government.

She is a strategic and visionary leader with over 24 years of regulatory, public policy, advocacy and technical experience in industry, academia, government, and international relations.

Dr. Marco Castaldi

Dr. Marco J. Castaldi is a Professor in the Chemical Engineering Department at the City College of City University of New York. He received his B.S. ChE (Magna cum Laude) from Manhattan College. His Ph.D. is in Chemical Engineering from UCLA and he has minors in Advanced Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics.

Prior to joining CCNY he was Associate Professor at Columbia University’s Earth & Environmental Engineering Department. Professor Castaldi has approximately 90 peer-reviewed research articles, 40 peer-reviewed conference papers, 2 textbooks, 3 book chapters and 11 patents in the fields of catalysis, combustion and gasification.

Some of his research findings have been covered by The New York Times, The Observer, CNN, and other trade publications. Prior to his academic career in Professor Castaldi worked first as Manager of Fuel Processor Component Development for Precision Combustion Inc. in New Haven, CT overseeing projects totaling $5 MM.

Professor Castaldi is Past Chair of the Materials and Energy Recovery Division of ASME, Past Chair of the Research and New Technology Council of AIChE and recent Past-Chair of the North American Catalysis Society’s New York Metropolitan Section. He is a consultant to several companies including WasteManagement and AECOM.