P139: Recycling of plastics: Integrating service learning and green chemistry in the organic chemistry curriculum at North Park University
After attending the 2012 cCWCS Green Chemistry Workshop at Eugene, OR, several experiments that involve the principles of Green Chemistry have been implemented in the organic chemistry curriculum at North Park University. This presentation will focus on one experiment in particular that integrates Service Learning and Green Chemistry. We will describe how students efficiently depolymerize PET (Plastic #1) and other plastics in the laboratory with microwave-assisted heating, and then compare their reaction efficiencies by doing metric calculations. We will also illustrate the course websites created in conjunction with the library, where students collect data regarding the recycling of PET and HDPE (Plastic #2) in the USA and the city of Chicago, and their community activities at North Park. The students’ analysis and reflection on the importance of recycling culminate in the creation of a poster to be exhibited on Earth’s Day and in proposals to enhance campus’ recycling.