INTRODUCTION AND INVITATION
The use and development of materials from renewable sources is not a new concept, and there are many examples in history of the use of renewable materials to prepare primitive tools, clothes and shelter. As the complexity of human requirements increased, so did the materials and by the 19th century durable materials were being prepared from renewable resources such as vulcanized rubber and adhesives from starches and other natural resins. However, the widespread use of these materials was diminished in the 20th century with the development of fossil fuel derived leading to the polymer renaissance. In the following decades, coal and petrol-based polymers could be found in nearly every item we touched, e.g., clothing, packaging, paints, adhesives and plastics.
Today, the use of polymers is widespread but the sources which are used to prepare them are coming under scrutiny. The traditional sources to prepare the vast majority of conventional polymers are finite and will begin to dwindle in the future. This will put a significant cost pressure on the polymers prepared from these finite resources. Lastly, as the world begins to become much more aware of the needs for a sustainable future, there will be increasing pressure to incorporate sustainable materials. With these concerns, there is now a growing shift back to polymeric materials from renewable sources. Significant research is ongoing to develop new or improved products and processes based on sustainability.
This workshop will bring together researchers from academia, industry, and government to present and discuss their activities in the broad area of sustainable polymers. Recent research in new materials, new processes, and new technologies that focus on sustainable practices in polymer science and technology will be presented.