New York University Abu Dhabi’s Plastic Recycling Research Lab (aka the Plastic Lab) is an interdisciplinary design research lab with a focus on getting and sharing a holistic view onto global issues that relate to plastic and plastic recycling.
The Plastic Lab was inaugurated in December 2018 by Prof. Felix Beck. (Director and Principal Investigator 12/2018–08/2020). In Summer 2020 Beck handed the lab over to Prof. Marcela Godoy (PI) and Prof. Goffredo Puccetti (Co-PI). In 2021 Prof. Khulood Alawadi became the Director of the lab. The lab continues its work with a team of dedicated researchers, student research assistants, and community members to work on answers, and develop solutions towards questions such as:
Why plastic? How is plastic produced? How is it used in the market? What are the lifespans of the different types? What are processes of waste collection and processing? What are the short-, mid-, and long-term impacts of plastic waste to the environment? What does plastic recycling mean for todays society? How can recycled plastic be up-cycled into new products? How can the perception of plastic be changed in order to see it as a more precious material instead of a one-time use only material?
To find answers to the questions above the research team collaborates with partner institutions on a national and international level. The Plastic Lab also collaborates with the student initiative ECOHERENCE, and hosts the NYUAD Precious Plastic Group – a student interest group (SIG) that collects, washes, shreds, and creates new products from plastic collected on NYUAD campus.
»With the lab’s location at the heart of the university – the campus waste management site – we get confronted with the enormous amount of plastic that is thrown away every single day. This reminds us to act local, but to think global.«Kazi Owais Ahmed, Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2020.