image with arrows in various directions

Sustainable World Without Waste Workshop: May 6, 10, and 12

February 18, 2021


The ‘take, make, waste’ model has dominated the global economy for hundreds of years. Despite efforts to minimize waste, develop symbiotic models of waste retention, and implement various recycling approaches, the amount and character of global waste continues to proliferate and broaden. The resulting ecological degradation has outpaced societal benefits, indicating the need to properly understand the problem and develop and implement new and transformative solutions.



We need transformation from a linear take-make-waste to a circular economy that cycles products and materials out of the waste stream and back into production. System changes like this will deliver multiple environmental and economic benefits but will require transdisciplinary thinking to develop relevant technologies, to understand and develop appropriate markets and to create societal incentives that will guide sustainable human behavior.
A “World Without Waste” is a noble aspiration but actualizing such a grand challenge in a sustainable and resilient manner requires much more than collaborative multidisciplinary approaches. An important realization from current efforts is that, while engineering needs to play an important role by developing relevant technologies, other perspectives from the social and environmental sciences and humanities are also essential for understanding and developing appropriate solutions that will allow humanity to stay within planetary boundaries. Various disciplines need to forge links and transcend their traditional boundaries to move toward deeply convergent research approaches.


Sustainable World Without Waste Online Workshop Forum

May 6, 10, 12, 2021,   2:30-5:30 p.m. ET

By invitation only. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Sustainability Institute at Ohio State.

Click here to learn more:  Sustainable World Without Waste Workshop Goals and Strategies


Project Leaders

  • Bhavik Bakshi,  Ohio State University Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
  • Melissa Bilec,  University of Pittsburgh, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation
  • Timothy Gutowski,  MIT Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity
  • Elena Irwin,  Ohio State University Department of Agricultural, Environmental, Development Economics and Sustainability Institute at Ohio State
  • Cindy Isenhour,   University of Maine Department of Anthropology
  • Dusan Sekulic,  University of Kentucky Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
  • Thomas Theis,  University of Illinois at Chicago Institute for Environmental Science and Policy
  • Valerie Thomas,  Georgia Tech School of Industrial and Systems Engineering and School of Public Policy
Contact Us:  For more information about the Sustainable World Without Waste Project or the Workshops, contact