Ryley Glasgow is part of a faculty-student research team whose work is gaining international attention for developing a new method for converting waste plastics into useful chemicals, a process that has the potential to significantly reduce a waste stream that's currently sent to landfills. The research — published in the journal Chemical Communications — involves converting waste plastics into chemicals that can be reused to remake other plastics or be used as building blocks for chemical applications in the pharmaceutical or cosmetics industries. While not yet commercially viable because the catalyst the researchers used is prohibitively expensive, the researchers hope their work will motivate others to consider methods for making use of waste plastics. Glasgow, a sophomore chemistry and computer science major, has been engaged in undergraduate research since his freshman year. But the waste plastics project has been especially meaningful because it relates to sustainability and the environmental impact of the chemical industry. Finding new ways to contribute to sustainability is helping him meet his goal of applying his research skills to something that could benefit society. Through his work as a student researcher, Ryley Glasgow is a recycler AND a researcher, and that's pretty powerful.
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