What Are Sustainable Materials?

Sustainable materials are materials used throughout our consumer and industrial economy that can be produced in required volumes without depleting non-renewable resources and without disrupting the established steady-state equilibrium of the environment and key natural resource systems.  Such materials vary enormously and may range from bio-based polymers derived from polysaccharides, or highly recyclable materials such as glass that can be reprocessed an indefinite number of times without requiring additional mineral resources.  The goal of this center is to understand the fundamental science behind new forms of sustainable materials and, once promising opportunities are identified, to engineer new materials needed by industry and commerce to reduce adverse environmental and sociological effects of traditional petroleum intensive materials. 

An effort of this type and magnitude requires a broad array of scientific and engineering prowess.  Such a diverse pool of expertise exists at Rutgers University, although the personnel and facilities span many of the 29 schools and 175 departments that comprise our university.  This Center seeks to reach out to this expertise and bond it into an effective collaborative unit to advance the development of sustainable materials.