Plastic production, use, and pollution have been growing steadily for decades, without much public comment or concern. But suddenly, and very recently, there has been strong and widespread backlash against the pervasiveness of plastic. What prompted this sudden change in public opinion? Did plastic pollution itself reach a tipping point? Or did public attitudes toward this pollutant undergo a radical shift? Roland Geyer will discuss the history of global plastic production and disposal and will consider the future of both plastic and public outrage against its environmental impact. A reception will follow.
Roland Geyer is a Professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UCSB. In his research he uses the approaches and methods of industrial ecology, such as life cycle assessment and material flow analysis, to assess pollution prevention strategies based on reuse, recycling, and material and technology substitution. Roland also combines these approaches with research methods from other disciplines in order to study the relationship between environmental performance, economic viability, and technical and operational feasibility of pollution prevention strategies. His overarching goal is to help develop the knowledge, tools, and methods necessary to reduce the environmental impact from industrial production and consumption.