Energy Transition Series: Advancing the Circular Economy for Plastics
Energy Transition Series: Advancing the Circular Economy for Plastics Asia Society
Thursday, March 28, 2024
6:15 p.m. Reception
7 p.m. Program
8 p.m. Audience Q&A
According to a 2018 Environmental Protection Agency report, less than 10 percent of all discarded plastics are recycled, with the majority being either incinerated or ending up in a landfill or back in the environment. However, new technologies, collaborations, and policies aim to significantly improve recycling rates and support a more circular economy of plastic usage. One such technology is advanced recycling, a process that enables plastic waste to be recycled back into its molecular building blocks and become the raw material needed to make new products.
The third program of our Energy Transition Series looks into how advanced recycling technologies are being deployed in Houston and the Asia Pacific on a significant scale to address plastic waste.
Join Mario Chavez, Advanced Recycling Venture Executive at ExxonMobil, with moderator Dr. Rachel A. Meidl, the Baker Institute’s Fellow in Energy and Environment, for an examination of the innovative strategies, technological advancements, and collaborative initiatives aimed at accelerating the transition to a more responsible approach in plastic utilization.
About the Speakers
- Mario Chavez is the Advanced Recycling Venture Executive at ExxonMobil. Born in El Paso, Texas, he graduated in 1994 from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and then a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University. Mario completed a total of five summer internships before joining Exxon full-time in 1996 as a contact engineer at the Baytown Refinery.
- Throughout his 27 years at ExxonMobil, Mario has held various roles in manufacturing, financial planning and supply chain, in the U.S. and around the world. Mario is currently the company’s Advanced Recycling Venture Executive, overseeing the company’s feedstock and facility plans for advanced recycling at multiple sites around the world.
- Mario lives in Houston, Texas, with his three children and his wife Mona.
About the Moderator
- Dr. Rachel A. Meidl, LP.D., CHMM, is a distinguished fellow in energy and environment at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and a strategic advisor for Morgan Stanley Capital International. Her research focuses on sustainability; circular economy; life cycle management; environmental justice; safety and environmental regulations of the treatment, storage, disposal, and transportation of hazardous materials and wastes; and understanding the environmental, economic, and social impacts across energy supply chains.
- Dr. Meidl was previously appointed as Deputy Associate Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration in Washington, D.C. Prior to her service in government, she was Director of Regulatory & Technical Affairs at American Chemistry Council. She has over 27 years of regulatory, public policy, advocacy and technical experience in industry, academia, government and international relations.
- Dr. Meidl holds a Ph.D. in law and public policy from Northeastern University, a master of science in environmental policy and management, a master of education in applied science and technology with certifications in chemistry and physics, and bachelor degrees in conservation biology and zoology & animal physiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Meidl is also a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager.
About Asia Society Texas
Asia Society Texas believes in the strength and beauty of diverse perspectives and people. As an educational institution, we advance cultural exchange by celebrating the vibrant diversity of Asia, inspiring empathy, and fostering a better understanding of our interconnected world. Spanning the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, our programming is rooted in the educational and cultural development of our community — trusting in the power of art, dialogue, and ideas to combat bias and build a more inclusive society.
SDGs, Targets, and Indicators
1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?
- SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
- SDG 14: Life Below Water
- SDG 15: Life on Land
The article discusses the issue of plastic waste and the need for improved recycling rates and a more circular economy of plastic usage. These issues are directly connected to SDG 12, which focuses on responsible consumption and production. Additionally, the article mentions the negative impact of plastic waste on the environment, specifically in water bodies and land, which aligns with SDG 14 (Life Below Water) and SDG 15 (Life on Land).
2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?
- Target 12.5: By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse.
- Target 14.1: By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, particularly from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution.
- Target 15.1: By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains, and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements.
Based on the article’s content, the targets that can be identified are related to waste reduction and recycling (Target 12.5), prevention of marine pollution (Target 14.1), and conservation and sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems (Target 15.1).
3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?
- Indicator 12.5.1: National recycling rate, tons of material recycled
- Indicator 14.1.1: Index of coastal eutrophication and floating plastic debris density
- Indicator 15.1.1: Forest area as a proportion of total land area
The article does not explicitly mention indicators, but based on the identified targets, indicators can be used to measure progress. Indicator 12.5.1 can measure the national recycling rate and tons of material recycled, indicating progress towards waste reduction and recycling. Indicator 14.1.1 can measure the index of coastal eutrophication and floating plastic debris density, indicating progress in preventing marine pollution. Indicator 15.1.1 can measure the forest area as a proportion of total land area, indicating progress in the conservation and sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems.
4. Table: SDGs, Targets, and Indicators
|SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
|Target 12.5: By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse.
|Indicator 12.5.1: National recycling rate, tons of material recycled
|SDG 14: Life Below Water
|Target 14.1: By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, particularly from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution.
|Indicator 14.1.1: Index of coastal eutrophication and floating plastic debris density
|SDG 15: Life on Land
|Target 15.1: By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains, and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements.
|Indicator 15.1.1: Forest area as a proportion of total land area
Behold! This splendid article springs forth from the wellspring of knowledge, shaped by a wondrous proprietary AI technology that delved into a vast ocean of data, illuminating the path towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Remember that all rights are reserved by SDG Investors LLC, empowering us to champion progress together.
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