How can Exponent help clients develop proactive plans to minimize environmental impacts from plastic waste?
When plastics and synthetic polymers are not properly recycled or disposed of, they make their way into waterways, threatening vulnerable ecosystems and natural environments. Exponent's multidisciplinary teams assist clients in identifying and mitigating current and future environmental risks, analyzing product lifecycles, and enhancing product stewardship for their plastics and polymers portfolios.
Our consultants have expertise in chemistry, toxicology, fisheries science, environmental engineering, manufacturing, and other disciplines relevant to the fate and effects of plastics and polymers in the environment and their management.
How can Exponent help you navigate changing environmental legislation?
Plastic waste and the release of other synthetic polymers into the environment and global waterways has drawn increased attention from scientists, governments, and the public.
Intense research and emerging regional, national, and international policies and regulations now focus on the potential environmental and economic impacts of plastic debris in oceans, lakes, and rivers as well as sediments and soils. Recent initiatives ban specific uses of plastics, such as microbeads in cosmetics, and support the use of recycled, compostable, or recoverable plastics.
Although extensive research is being conducted to examine the possibility of using bio-based polymers as an alternative to petroleum-based polymers, substantial challenges remain in understanding and implementing technologies that facilitate waste minimization, reuse, and plastics recycling in the current plastics circular economy.
Services and Experience
For 50+ years, we’ve thrived on solving unstructured problems that require bespoke solutions. Some of our services include:
• Environmental assessment of polymers associated with personal care products, including evaluating physical and chemical properties, removal by conventional wastewater treatment processes, and environmental fate after discharge in effluent or biosolids
• Review of the environmental impact and cost-effectiveness of recycling polystyrene foam and other expanded polymer materials
• Technical reviews of issues relating to macroplastics, including sources, identification, measurement techniques, transport, fate, and impacts to human and ecological health
• Technical critical review and summary of the Environment Canada report “Microbeads – A Scientific Summary” and proposed action to add microbeads to the List of Toxic Substances under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act
• Evaluating the fate of metabolites from biodegradable plastics under a composting scenario for a trade organization representing biodegradable plastics manufacturers
• Environmental fate assessment of plastic products, including wearable devices, plastic storage bags, and plastic household devices, and third-party verification of supplier compliance with specifications and regulations
• Participating in the development of standards such as ASTM D20.95 and UL 746D related to recycling and the use of recycled materials
• Assisting clients in understanding recycled plastic feedstock variability in the context of material specifications and performance in accordance with UL 746D
• Assisting clients in the testing and qualification of new plastic products manufactured from recycled and regrind resins
• Assisting clients in the comparative analysis, testing, and qualification of new plastic products incorporating alternative plasticizers or other additives based on environmental goals
• Identifying niche applications for landfill-bound scrap materials for textiles and rubbers
• Technical reviews of developing standards related to terms such as “compostable” and “biodegradable” and their application to new product compositions
Our Capabilities Are Unparalleled
With expertise in over 90 disciplines and hundreds of capabilities, tools, and methodologies — we get to the root of even the most complex challenges and give you the objective answers you need.
Extensive support for compliance with local, state, and federal permitting requirements.
Environmental Risk Assessment
Risk assessments for legacy spills and contamination, potential project and product impacts, and environmental remediation support.
Meet changing sustainability regulations with rigorous science and experienced consulting services.
Modeling & Analysis
Experienced environmental analysis and data modeling for a range of complex environmental challenges.
Natural Resource Damage Assessment
Multidisciplinary natural resource damage assessments (NRDAs) to support navigating complex interactions with federal, state, and tribal trustees.
Our global and comprehensive expertise across industries gives us a deep understanding of current challenges, best industry practices, and the implications of emerging technologies.
Group Vice President and Principal Engineer
Practice Director and Principal Scientist
Practice Director and Principal Engineer
Senior Managing Scientist
Senior Managing Scientist