Collaborating to Pilot an Innovative Plastics Recycling Program for South Dakota and Beyond
Recycling of plastic waste has the potential to produce sustainable outcomes for society including: (1) reduction in the flow of slow-to-degrade waste to landfills and the environment; and (2) decreasing demand for petroleum products. USD Sustainability Capstone (SUST 489) students are participating in a novel collaborative project with the Dakota Research and Consulting Organization (DRACO) and engineering students at SD Mines. The EcoForged project involves a mobile recycling system that processes plastic waste and produces construction materials for the community. USD students are working on aspects of a pilot project deploying the system across South Dakota. We will present a panel providing a progress report on our work including: (A) determining what recycling centers in South Dakota are currently doing with their plastic recyclables; (B) an analysis of how DRACO can effectively prioritize Indigenous inclusion throughout the development and implementation of the EcoForged project while avoiding potentially unintentional, unjust consequences; (C) GIS mapping to determine an ideal route for the EcoForged project to utilize, based on what areas in South Dakota may have a need or interest in the technology; (D) compiling regulations pertinent to extruded construction materials, and identifying potential community uses of these materials that would motivate EcoForged participation; and (E) generating a learning module for high school students and general public groups that explores the plastic waste problem and how the EcoForged project will help with reducing plastic waste.
Determan, Kierra; Ireland, Faith; Ellison, Amber; Weber, Jesse; and Andrews, Haley, "Collaborating to Pilot an Innovative Plastics Recycling Program for South Dakota and Beyond" (2020). IdeaFest. 121.