Skip to toolbar

Plastic Waste Alliance + NISTH

As one of the world’s leading educational institution, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) strongly believes that universities hold a pivotal role in addressing global environmental sustainability challenges and have thus made it our responsibility and priority to nurture relevant research, develop innovative solutions and pioneer sustainable development.

The world population and urbanization has rapidly increased in the past years, leading to the exponential creation of a lot of waste, most of which is plastic. This disproportionate production and consumption of plastic has serious consequences on our environment and health. The need to urgently address the issue of plastic waste is a major global challenge.

PLASTIC WASTE

What is plastic waste?

Plastic waste, or plastic pollution, is ‘the accumulation of plastic objects (e.g. plastic bottles and much more) in the Earth’s environment that adversely affects wildlife, wildlife habitat, and humans.’ It also refers to the large amount of plastic that isn’t recycled and ends up in landfills or unregulated dump sites.

Urbanisation has increased our dependence on plastic as it is an affordable and durable material.  However, we overlook the fact that plastic items take up to 1000 years to decompose in landfills. Plastic bags we use in our everyday life take 10-20 years to decompose, while plastic bottles take 450 years. More than 8 million tonnes of plastic enters our oceans and pollutes the marine environment.

Acknowledging the need and responsibility to step up to the challenge of contributing solutions for and knowledge on critical global environmental challenges, NTU’s NTU Institute of Science and Technology for Humanity (NISTH) and NTU Singapore-CEA Alliance for Research in Circular Economy (SCARCE) are working with one of the leading non-profit organisation – Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW) to work on solutions to the widespread problem of eradicating global plastic waste pollution.

To kickstart the collaboration, the efforts are focussed on two specific themes:

  • Advanced Technologies to Reduce Plastic Waste

    The world population and urbanization has rapidly increased in the past years, leading to the exponential increase of plastic waste. Mismanaged plastic waste is an acute issue that needs to be addressed, and advanced technologies such as AI and Data Science can help these efforts significantly beyond conventional methodologies and science. Translational opportunities for the development of effective solutions are emphasised in this theme.  Focus areas are not restricted, but priority is given to solutions for ‘designing for circularity’; for hard-to-recycle/contaminated plastic waste; for developing economies with poor infrastructure and solutions that directly reduce plastic waste and/or reduce impact of plastic waste on the environment.

  • ​Behavioural and Social Aspects of Ending Plastic Waste

    The disproportionate production and consumption of plastic has serious consequences on our environment and health. The need to urgently address the issue of plastic waste is a major global challenge. With the huge efforts poured into the pursuit of technical solutions to the challenge, the study of the impact of human behaviour is all the more crucial to make these technical advancements sustainable and effective. This theme seeks proposals that investigate people’s behaviour and the social context in which they consume plastic, toward real-world solutions that radically change people’s behaviour with the goal to End Plastic Waste.

The following experts have been identified to work on research projects to ‘End Plastic Waste’:

Madhavi SRINIVASAN

Madhavi SRINIVASAN

Professor, School of Materials Science & Engineering

Her research interest is in fabrication, investigation and application of nanoscale materials/architectures in electrochemical energy storage devices. Dr. Srinivasan’s research focuses on enhancing energy storage capabilities of devices such as lithium ion batteries, supercapacitors and advanced batteries by employing nanoscale materials. These energy storage technologies would be used in conjunction with renewable energy sources and also to power electric vehicles thus cutting down overall carbon dioxide emission and reducing global warming. The energy storage technologies that she is developing will be vital for the future of a “clean energy landscape”. Her research also includes nanoscale materials combining several functions into a single layer leading to multifunctional electrodes resulting in lightweight, flexible and even printable batteries. In addition, she has an ongoing effort on recycling of precious metals from e-batteries waste.

Read more

HU Xiao

HU Xiao

Professor, School of Materials Science & Engineering; Director, Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute-Environmental Chemistry & Materials Centre (NEWRI-ECMC)

He co-founded the Polymer Laboratory in the School of Materials Science & Engineering, and served as Director of Graduate Programs in the School and as its inaugural Head of Division of Materials Technology. He is now a full professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering. His research interests include:  Composites and Nanocomposites, Functional Polymers: Synthesis and Assembly, Nanocrystals Synthesis and Modification (including rods, dots and tubes) and Organic-inorganic Hybrid Materials​.

Read more

Felicity CHAN

Felicity CHAN

Assistant Professor, School of Social Sciences

She has a deep and keen interest in the organization of space vis-à-vis human activities and its influence on the formation of social relations, particularly in the context of the urban environment. Her core research interest lies at the intersections of the formation of social life in cities, global immigration and the planning / design of the urban built environment. She particularly enjoys including mapping as a method of inquiry. Thus, she is intrigued by research (visual and textual) that concurrently explores the joint dimension of society and space and how they interface with urban policies and institutions.​

Read more

Md Saidul ISLAM

Md Saidul ISLAM

Associate Professor, School of Social Sciences

He is the founder of various conceptual frameworks and paradigms such as (a) the Twin-driven Commodity Chain, (b) Double-Risk Society, (c) Neolibral Paradox (d) Development as a Historical Project of Power, (e) Islamic Ecological Pradigm and (f) Plural coexistence Model for disaster studies. He teaches Environmental Sustainability, Introduction to Environmental and Urban Studies, Environmental Sociology, Economy and Society, Global Sociology and Cultural Politics of Development and Environment.

Read more

Vanessa EVERS

Vanessa EVERS

Director, NTU Institute for Science and Technology for Humanity; Professor, School of Computer Science and Engineering

Her research focuses on the complex interaction between people and intelligent and autonomous systems such as robots and socio-cultural aspects of Human Computer Interaction. This comprises the entire cycle of automatic detection of multi-modal behaviour of people, designing socially normative behaviour for AI agents and evaluating the impact on how peo​ple live, work and play.  She is active in the HRI, CSCW and CHI communities and she teaches courses such as Human Computer Interaction, Computer Mediated Communication, Global Work, Multimedia and Research methods courses.​

Read more

WANG Jing-Yuan

WANG Jing-Yuan

Associate Professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Director, Residues and Resource Reclamation Centre

Dr. Wang is specialized in solid waste resource management, contaminated site assessment and remediation, and integrated environmental management. His current research interests are focused on waste to energy, decentralized waste resource management, and land reclamation of closed dumping ground. Dr. Wang has 25 years of experience on consulting, teaching, and research in providing technical support to various public and private sectors including US EPA, DOE, Taiwan EPA, Singapore MEWR, NEA, PUB, JTC, AVA, HDB, and various private companies on numerous environmental projects.

Read more

 LI Hong

LI Hong

Assistant Professor, School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering and School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering

His expertise is the development of electrochemical devices and catalysts for energy conversion and storage applications. His current research works focus on energy conversion through designing of electrochemical devices and engineering of electrocatalysts.  His current projects include:

  • ​Development of electrochemical devices for energy conversion and storage
  • Gas-Phase Synthesis of Porous van der Waals Solids for Multifunctional Catalyst
  • Hybrid Electrolysis for Biomass Refinery and Hydrogen Generation​

Read more

Kenichi ITO

Kenichi ITO

Assistant Professor, School of Social Sciences

Dr. Ito investigates the relationship between culture and the mind. On the one hand, members of a given culture acquire culturally-specific knowledge form their environment. On the other hand, they also recreate the environment from which new members of the culture acquire the knowledge. To investigate such two-way street, Dr. Ito investigates the distinct perceptual and cognitive patterns across different cultural groups and how these patterns are reflected in their environments.  His research interests include: Cultural norms, Nonverbal communications, Social support and Close relationship​.

Read more

 JEAN-CHRISTOPHE P Gabriel

JEAN-CHRISTOPHE P Gabriel

Co-Director (SCARCE) / Co-PI (RT3)

He is also currently a visiting Associate Professor at NTU where he serves as co-director of the NTU Singapore CEA Alliance for Research in Circular Economy (SCARCE). He first joined the French Alternative Energy and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) in 2007. There, he was CEA/LETI institute’s “Beyond CMOS” program manager as well as the business director of the academic- industry Caltech – LETI alliance, which led to the creation of the Startup Apix Technology (apixanalytics.com). His notable research includes, ‘Recovering precious materials and reducing environmental harm, the lab will also find other sustainable solutions to process solar panel e-waste and toxic plastic materials’.

Read more

Grzegorz LISAK

Grzegorz LISAK

Assistant Professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute (NEWRI); Director, Residues and Resource Reclamation Centre (R3C)

He is leading a group of approx. 40 people that consists of research fellows, research associates, PhD students and affiliated faculty. His R&D activities focuses on waste to energy, waste to materials and contaminated sites remediation. R3C’s primary focus is to address Singapore’s and region’s challenges in waste management through conducting various research and test bedding projects leveraging on strong industry participation and significance.

Read more

Jonathan TAN

Jonathan TAN

Associate Professor, School of Social Sciences

Jonathan H W Tan is a behavioral economist. He was previously Director of the Center for Research in the Behavioral Sciences and Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham, Research Professor at DIW Berlin, Assistant Professor at Nottingham, Researcher then University Lecturer at the Eu​ropean University Viadrina, as well as Tutor and Research Assistant at the University of Oxford.  His interests include, behavioral Game Theory, in particular boundedly rational reasoning and social preferences in games, especially but non-exclusively in dynamic games.​

Read more

 Stephen SUMMERS

Stephen SUMMERS

Research Fellow, Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE)

Dr Summers investigated the microbial communities associated with nano- and micro-plastic marine debris.  As plastic debris enters the marine environment, it rapidly becomes encapsulated in exopolymers, originating from bacteria and algae. 

Read more

Seirin LIM

Seirin LIM

Associate Professor, School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering; Associate Dean, Graduate College

Her research group focuses on repurposing biological parts by utilizing protein engineering as a tool for applications in health and environment.  Her lab focuses on the design, engineering and development of hybrid nano/ microscale devices from biological parts by Utilizing protein engineering as assembly tool towards future healthcare and sustainable Earth.

Read more

 SOO, Han Sen

SOO, Han Sen

Associate Professor, School of Physical & Mathematical Sciences - Division of Chemistry & Biological Chemistry

The overarching theme of his research program is artificial photosynthesis. He has developed a novel and unique form of artificial photosynthesis including original research in the critical functions of light absorption, charge separation, and multielectron reduction and oxidation catalysis. His current interests include the development of molecular photosensitizers and catalysts to harvest sunlight for proton reduction to produce solar fuels and chemicals.

Read more

 LEE Jong-Min

LEE Jong-Min

Associate Professor, School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering

Prof Lee’s research interest is in analysis and design of electrochemical systems and development of ionic liquid as a green solvent for chemical and biomedical reactions and of nanomaterials and of their assemblies for applications in biomedical, optical, and electronic fields.  Currently, his research interests focus on:

  • Electrode position of mesoporous materials in a dual template utilizing porous anodic alumina and lyotropic liquid crystal for electrochemical energy systems,
  • The development of ionic liquids as media for chemical and biomedical
    reactions,
  • The extraction of metal ions using ionic liquids,
  • The deconstruction of biomass feedstock using ionic liquids for production of fermentable sugars.

Read more

Pallab DAS

Pallab DAS

Research Fellow, RT4, Singapore-CEA Alliance for Research in Circular Economy

Working on recovery of e-waste plastics by thermochemical conversion.

Read more