Thermoplastic elastomer innovations by PSU inventors meet the BCG economic model and SDGs

       At present, the problem of single-use plastic waste, and waste from food packaging and high-volume consumer goods with no proper management, seriously affects aquatic environments like rivers and canals, which eventually flow into the sea, causing problems in the marine ecosystem. 

       PSU and Cafe Amazon studied the method of upcycling waste plastic mixed with rubber to produce woven material for furniture from thermoplastic elastomers, responding to the new BCG (Bio-Circular-Green) economic model under the concept of innovation for the environment. On 18 Nov 2021, the PSU team, consisting of Vice President for International Relations Asst. Prof. Dr. Thakerng Wongsirichot, the management team, and researchers, delivered the prototype to Cafe Amazon. The research was partially supported by the Rubber Authority of Thailand.

       Dr. Nattapon Utaipan, a lecturer at the PSU Sino-Thai International Rubber College, revealed the idea of upcycling plastic waste by mixing it with para-rubber, a fundamental economic product of the South. The resulting thermoplastic elastomer is a new material with special properties, suitable to be used for making furniture and various products. The environmentally friendly material can also be recycled and reprocessed.

       Dr. Thakerng explained that the innovation helps generate income for communities in the southern region, responding to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The research also facilitates environmental conservation, one of the university‚Äôs main research motivations to improve communities.

       Asst. Prof. Dr. Muttanachai Suttipan, PSU RDO Deputy Director for Humanities and Social Sciences, said that PSU researchers primarily utilize research to answer and solve social problems, with SDGs acting as developmental guidelines. Furniture products from this innovation can answer the problem of environmental impact, with further potential for regional, national, and international development.

       Dr. Worasan Sophon, Deputy Director of the PSU Science Park, explained the fundamental role that the Science Park plays in connecting researchers with the private sector, the industrial sector, and the community at large, highlighting this latest innovation as a good example of collaboration between researchers, the private sector, and the community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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