Circular economy projects related to data and how it helps people make decisions to increase sustainability.
Chemically recycled polymers become indistinguishable from virgin feedstock. Mass balance accounting is a method to track, trace, and certify circular polymers. NIST assessed mass balance methods for circular polymers in 2021, in accordance with the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act of 2020.
Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a quantitative approach to evaluating the impacts of a product across its entire lifespan, from production to use to end of life (disposal or recycling). Quantifying these impacts can be difficult, particularly for plastics. We are assessing the current state of applying LCA to plastics to identify and target research and data gaps to improve the accuracy and transparency of life cycle evaluations. This project is currently evaluating the tools and databases that currently exist for completing LCAs for plastics to identify areas for improvement, including data and modeling gaps.
Manufacturing systems use data to be less resource intensive, have less impact on the environment, and be more flexible to adjust to changing designs and material streams. This NIST initiative is working with industries, governments, and researchers to create new standards, tools, and business models to help manufacturers achieve their circular economy goals, demonstrate their results, and measure progress.
This registry is an online platform for finding data, tools, and informational resources useful to facilitating a circular economy. It is a central hub where stakeholders across industry sectors, material categories, and lifecycle phases can both locate circular economy information and add their own resources.
We are adding plastic monomers, additives, and processing aids containing more than 10,500 compounds to the NIST mass spectral libraries using EI, ESI and APCI ionizations. In collaboration with the EPA and FDA, we are developing software pipelines and interfaces for visualizing, organizing, and validating MS data. This work will improve analyses of human urine, medical device extracts, and drinking water analyses.