Berkeley’s ecosystem of innovation, entrepreneurship combats climate change

May 16, 2024
UC Berkeley faculty are fast-tracking the development of new and creative climate solutions.

A Day in the half-life; a podcast from the Berkeley Lab

March 13, 2023

worker looks at bails of plastic

Berkely Lab produces a podcast about the surprising ways that science evolves. Through conversations with scientists, they trace the technology, theories, and products we see around us today back to early discoveries in the lab, while also imagining where future breakthroughs could take us.

Why isn’t more...

Process converts polyethylene bags, plastics to polymer building blocks

October 3, 2022

Plastics made from polyethylene (white strands), such as the milk bottle shown in background, can now be broken down into smaller molecules Plastics made from polyethylene (white strands), such as the milk bottle shown in background, can now be broken...

Designer Materials to Keep Plastic Out of Landfills

July 28, 2022

This article discusses discovery of a new 100% recyclable plastic material

Scientists at Berkeley Lab have developed a material system that could keep plastic out of landfills by enabling a much broader range of fully recyclable plastic products. photo: Adobe Stock

A group of scientists from the labs of...

Brooks Abel joins the College faculty specializing in soft materials and organic chemistry

October 19, 2021

Brooks AbelWe are delighted to introduce Dr. Brooks Abel who joined the College of Chemistry as an assistant professor this summer with a focus in polymer chemistry. Brooks’s position was funded by a generous donation from Rubber and Joy Chen of PMP Tech, an international company based in Taiwan.

Brooks arrived from...

"Self-destructing plastic" wins top Prize in Create the Future contest

October 7, 2021

Example of film

Over 300 million tons of plastic are produced annually – equivalent to the entire weight of the human population. Less than 10% is recycled; most end up in landfills. A research team in the lab of Professor Ting Xu, Professor of Materials Science & Engineering and...

A new technique could make some plastic trash compostable at home

April 23, 2021

With moderate heat, enzyme-laced films of the plastic disintegrated in standard compost or plain tap water within days to weeks, Ting Xu and her colleagues

“Biodegradability does not equal compostability,” says Xu, a polymer scientist at the University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She often finds bits of biodegradable plastic in the compost she picks up for her parents’ garden. Most biodegradable plastics go to landfills, where the conditions aren’t right for them to break down, so they degrade no faster than normal plastics.


The Future Looks Bright for Infinitely Recyclable Plastic

April 22, 2021

worker looks at bails of plastic

Only about 2% of plastics are fully recycled currently. PDK plastics could solve the single-use crisis. (Chanchai Phetdikhai/Shutterstock)

A new environmental and technological analysis suggests that a revolutionary eco-friendly plastic is almost ready to hit the shelves.

Plastics are a part of nearly every product we use on a...

New process makes ‘biodegradable’ plastics truly compostable

April 21, 2021

Example of degraded plastic after process

A modified plastic (left) breaks down after just three days in standard compost (right) and entirely after two weeks. (UC Berkeley photo by Ting Xu)

Biodegradable plastics have been advertised as one solution to the plastic pollution problem...

Upcycling: Turning plastic bags into adhesives

December 18, 2020

Large pile of plastic in a dump

While plastic bags clog the waste stream, recycling them isn’t financially attractive, since they’re usually turned into very low-value products. If polyethylene packaging could be processed into high-value products, more of them would be recycled instead of ending up in landfills. (photo: Adobe Stock)

While many cities and eight states...