Making new products from waste is topic of March 24 WSU Common Reading lecture by Karl Englund

PULLMAN, Wash.—The Washington State University Common Reading Program will host materials researcher Karl Englund for a 7 p.m. March 24 lecture in Webster 16 titled “Engineering New Products from Old Material.” The public is welcome at the free event.

“Do you ever wonder where that plastic bottle goes after you put it in the recycling bin?” asked Englund, an associate research professor and extension specialist in WSU’s Composite Materials and Engineering Center. “What about all the other materials we throw away—can’t they be recycled?”

Englund’s presentation ties to this year’s common reading book, “Garbology,” by Edward Humes. The book and topics from it have been used in first-year and other courses on campus. Many previous expert lectures and special programming have helped students to think about and identify sources and types of trash, and how Americans deal with them. Englund will focus his lecture on “the opportunities and challenges associated with closing the recycling loop, where we turn the materials we discard into useful products.”

Englund earned his Ph.D. in civil engineering at WSU and worked as a research engineer and technical director of composites at the WSU Wood Materials and Engineering Lab prior to his current position. He earned his BS in forestry and MS in wood science at West Virginia University.

His technical interests include polymer and natural fiber composite processing, composite materials structural and physical performance evaluation, and the recycling and reuse of waste materials for value-added products. His outreach/extension activities include applied industrial research and development involving natural fibers and polymers.

Common reading programming for the 2014-15 academic year is quickly drawing to a close. The selection of the next and ninth book in as many years, however, is expected to be announced soon. To date, the program has potentially touched the academic lives of more than 20,000 students.

MEDIA: Karen Weathermon, Co-Director of the Common Reading Program, WSU Office of Undergraduate Education, 509-335-5488,