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Research and Development Centers

This is a partial listing of the recycling-related research and development work being done regionally.  If you are interested in sponsoring research or can forward information on additional R&D centers, please contact: [email protected]



Syracuse Center of Excellence
The purpose of the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems is to create jobs and wealth in New York State through collaborations in research, development, and education.
The mission of SyracuseCoE is to create innovations in environmental and energy technologies that promote sustainable well-being in built and urban environments.
The vision of SyracuseCoE is to earn international recognition for development of knowledge and products in environmental and energy systems for built and urban environments.
SyracuseCoE Partners envision new generations of technologies and systems that address these concerns:
•    Healthy schools, offices, and homes that enhance learning, reduce absences, lower health care costs, and are more pleasant to occupy.
•    Intelligent environmental quality systems that provide tailored “micro-environments” at the desktop to improve productivity and comfort.
•    Systems that can rapidly detect harmful chemical and biological agents in both buildings and waterways.
•    More sustainable economic development by reducing energy usage in buildings, decreasing air and water pollution, and improving environmental quality in urban ecosystems.



SouthEast Recycling Development Council (SERDC)

SERDC unites and develops sustainable recycling among eleven SouthEastern states and a number of their higher education insitutions.  Some of the resources they include on their  website are featured here:

Understanding State by State Demand for Recycled Materials

These one-page PDFs are summaries of the findings for the region, and state.  Please click to open the attached report.


Understanding the Job Creation Driven by Recycling

SERDC has produced a series of articles for each Region 4 State outlining the creation of jobs generated by recycling.  Please click to open the attached article.

North Carolina
South Carolina

Recycling Factsheets

Understanding Local Recycling Markets
Outlining a Successful Recycling Program
Recycling Collection & Processing Equipment Needs
Boosting Participation for Effective Economics

Tools to Support Community Collection Programs

Economic Reports: Several states have tools to gauge recycling’s economic impact on their state.  These tools can help bolster community decision maker’s support.

State Market Directories: State recycling market directories help producers and users of recyclable materials tap into the most effective markets.

State Waste Exchanges: Waste exchanges help to place less traditional commodities.




University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment
Center for Sustainable Systems
Since 2001 the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems has developed a growing set of factsheets that cover topics including energy, water, food, waste, buildings, materials, and transportation systems. Each factsheet presents important patterns of use, life cycle impacts and sustainable solutions. They are designed to inform policymakers, business professionals, students and teachers. The factsheets are peer-reviewed and updated annually.


Purdue TAP’s Energy Efficiency & Sustainability Program
Purdue’s Technical Assistance Program designed their Energy Efficiency & Sustainability (EES) program to help companies improve processes and develop energy management practices through workshops, on-site training, awareness events, implementation and consulting services.
Purdue University’s Technical Assistance Program is the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) center for the State of Indiana.


Michigan State University School of Packaging
The School of Packaging conducts cutting edge research in a broad number of areas related to packaging.  The research is both fundamental and applied and is funded by a number of sources including State and Federal grants, private industry and foundations.  Researchers within the school collaborate with a large number of groups across the MSU campus, other research universities, not-for-profit research centers and private industry.


The center conducts primary, pioneering research focused on the following five main areas:
•    The role of packaging in promoting sustainability.
•    Innovation for improved sustainability.
•    Integrated end of life solutions.
•    Improving Lifecycle assessment methodology for validating sustainability of packaging systems.
•    Enhancing the safety of packaging.

The Center integrates sustainability into all levels across our teaching mission:
•    Developing undergraduate course materials related to sustainable packaging.
•    Developing on-line courses and training materials in sustainable packaging suitable for packaging professionals and potentially leading to certification programs.
•    Establishing an international presence for the Center through research, education, and training centers.
•    Developing a global network of sustainable packaging organizations.

Current Research Projects:



University of California – Berkeley

The Zero Waste Research Center at UC Berkeley researches and implements upstream strategies for reducing campus waste, with a focus on purchasing, redesigning products, creating behavior change incentives, and instituting closed-loop “circular economy” waste systems.

University of Colorado- Boulder

Zero Waste Lab

CU’s Zero Waste Lab coordinates faculty and course research with the needs of the private and public sector Sustainable Materials Management.  Sponsored research project partners to date include the EPA, Pepsi, BASF, A-1 Organics, and others.