The Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service is ASU’s strategic research and implementation partner for businesses, governments, federal agencies, and NGOs dedicated to contributing to the solutions of a more sustainable world. In collaboration with stakeholders, internal and external from the university, RMWSSS co-develops research projects with the goal of creating complex solutions for the complex problems our planet is facing.
The RMWSSS team recently wrapped up three exciting applied research projects.
- Assessment of Technologies and Solutions to Extract Ocean Plastics was a project funded by Pepsi Co. The purpose of this study was to inventory technologies and solutions for extracting ocean plastic waste that are currently available, and assess their potential for scalability. Technologies were categorized into three types and a total of 33 plastic extraction solutions were identified – 16 scalable technologies and solutions, 4 research projects, 2 concept/prototype, and 11 social enterprises/BCorps. The 16 scalable solutions were screened for technology, scalability and impact across 9 attributes. The study was co-authored by Dr. Raj Buch and Alicia Marseille, and incorporated two students.
- Beyond 34 was funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and in partnership with the City of Cincinnati. Beyond 34, a multi-stakeholder initiative led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, to increase the baseline 34% recycling rate in the U.S. by providing a scalable model to optimize recycling and recovery systems and shift to a circular economy. This project included the development of an online toolkit of resources for communities to implement Beyond 34 in their regions. This project was managed by Bill Campbell, included 3 students, and ASU faculty Dr. David Swindell, and Dr. Adolfo Escobedo.
- Waste Assessment and Literature Review Findings Report and a Proposal to Pilot Small-scale Processing and Manufacturing to Divert Waste on Palmyra Atoll was funded by The Nature Conservancy, and the purpose of phase one of this project was to identify potential technologies and solutions for diverting research station waste and ocean debris for recycling, re-use, or re-purposing. Using assessments from all the actual waste streams from Palmyra and information gleaned from literature reviews, ASU designed pilot projects to validate the technical and financial viability of island circular solutions for a phase two. This project was managed Kelly Saunders, included 5 ASU students, Dr. Raj Buch, and ASU faculty Dr. Kenan Song. The proposal for phase two was developed by Dr. Netra Chhetri, Dr. Green, Dr. Bradley Rogers, Dr. Kenan Song, Dr. Raj Buch, and Mick Dalrymple.