Session Details

Wednesday, May 8, 2024, 11:00 AM


Achieving circularity in composites is essential for advancing sustainability in material usage and manufacturing. By addressing the complexities of composite materials, exploring innovative recycling techniques, and fostering collaboration across the value chain, we can pave the way for a more sustainable future. Avient's products and services play a pivotal role in supporting these strategies and driving the transition toward circular composites.

Who should attend:

Designers, Engineers, and Material Scientists Focused on Product Development.

What you will learn:

There are multiple challenges and opportunities in achieving circularity for composites, from learning the principles of circular economy to applying them to composite materials. The seminar will delve into technical and business hurdles, market diversity in sustainable composite development, and innovative solutions for these challenges.

  1. Complexity of Composite Materials:
    • Discuss the multi-material nature of composites and their impact on recycling.
    • Highlight the need for innovative separation techniques to address this complexity.
  2. Variety of Resins and Fibers:
    • Examine the recycling challenges posed by different types of resins and fibers.
    • Explore potential solutions for recycling diverse composite materials.
    • Investigate the role of standardization in resin and fiber types to simplify the recyling process.
  3. Material Chemistry and Dimensions:
    • Analyze how the chemical composition and dimensions of composites affect recyclability.
    • Suggest approaches to standardize materials for easier recycling.
  4. End-of-Life Considerations:
    • Evaluate the sustainability of various end-of-life options for composites.
    • Propose strategies for extending the life cycle of composite products to delay recycling needs.
    • Discuss the importance of designing composites with recyclability in mind from the outset.

How Avient can help:

Below are five strategies that manufacturers can use to achieve circularity with composites, along with the relevant Avient solutions that can help.

  1. Chemical Recycling: Advanced recycling methods like pyrolysis and solvolysis break down composite materials into their constituent parts.
    • Avient can support this strategy through its expertise in material science and additives that enhance the recyclability of composites.
  2. Mechanical Recycling: Post-industrial composite waste can be used as filler in new compounded polymers.
    • Avient Advanced Composites and Specialty Engineered Materials groups work together to turn manufacturing waste into eco-friendly product solutions.
  3. Repurposing: Creating alternative uses for composite materials instead of traditional recycling to extend their life cycle.
    • Avient's services include material selection and design support to help identify repurposing opportunities for composite materials.
  4. Collaboration Across the Value Chain: To create a sustainable loop for composite materials requires collaboration among manufacturers, recyclers, and end-users.
    • Avient's Specialty Engineered Materials, Advanced Composites, and Color, Additives, and Inks divisions provide a collaboration platform for value chain partners to advance circular composite development.
  5. Dedicated Resources and Investment: Manufacturers need to allocate resources and investment to develop and implement circular solutions for composites.
    • Avient provides technical support and innovation services that help companies make intelligent investments in circular composites solutions.

Speaker Details

Jennifer Schmidt
Full Name
Jennifer Schmidt
Job Title
Senior Sustainability Manager
Speaker Bio
Jennifer Schmidt is senior manager, Sustainability at Avient Corporation, a premier provider of specialized and sustainable material solutions and services. Ms. Schmidt is responsible for delivering on the company’s sustainability strategy.

Ms. Schmidt started her current role in 2022. She joined Avient in 2011, serving in various marketing roles within the engineered materials and advanced composites businesses.
Prior to joining Avient, Ms. Schmidt worked in consulting as an environmental engineer for areas such as industrial wastewater & hazardous waste permitting, brownfield redevelopment and landfill design & construction.

Ms. Schmidt holds a bachelor of science in environmental engineering from the University of Southern California and a masters of business administration from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. She is a licensed professional engineer and a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP).
Navraj Heer
Full Name
Navraj Heer
Job Title
Senior Research and Development Engineer, Advanced Composites
Speaker Bio
Navraj Singh Heer is a Senior Research and Development Engineer at Avient Corporation’s Advanced Composites division, which delivers innovative and state-of-the-art composites to various industries. Navraj is based in Denver and has been with Avient in this role since November 2022. Before joining Avient, he worked for eight years in engineering and research roles in the aerospace and composites industry.

Navraj is responsible for developing new thermoplastic fiber-reinforced composite solutions, which are based on uni-directional fiber-reinforced tapes (UD Tapes) to support current and new business opportunities. Navraj has worked closely with different levels of the supply chain involved in composite part manufacturing during his seven-year stint with Fraunhofer. He leverages his experience and network to collaborate internally and externally to deliver innovation and identify new business opportunities.

Navraj trained as a Mechanical Engineer in India at the Punjab Technical University and transitioned to Materials Engineering during his graduate studies in Canada at The University of Western Ontario. Navraj is passionate about composites and strives to innovate and create cutting-edge, sustainable solutions. Throughout his career, he has successfully handled and delivered several funded or direct-to-industry projects with total exposure amounting to more than $15 million.