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Pura Playa takes aim at plastic

Pura PlayaPura Playa is exploring solutions for plastic reduction across the three stages of the plastic life cycle: production,consumption, and disposal.

At Northwestern, Pura Playa aims to reduce campus plastic consumption through education, awareness, and changes to University policy. Pura Playa has teamed up with SEEDRoosevelt Institute, and ASG’s Sustainability Committee to push for a ban on the sale of plastic water bottles on campus and to upgrade water-refilling stations. This fall the team partnered with Inspire Media to screen the movie Tapped. The screening included a discussion on sustainability at NU and the implications of a bottled water ban on campus. During winter quarter, Pura Playa will focus on education offering fireside presentations for residence halls, tap vs. bottled water taste challenges and continuing the push to ban bottled water sales on campus.

The Pura Playa team is also working with Northwestern’s Torkelson Research Group to validate the innovative Solid State Shear Pulverization Process, a plastic upcycling technology which promises to be more effective than current commercial plastic recycling technologies.

In a partnership with Sea Turtles Forever, the group is conducting an environmental quality assessment of a marine plastic sink site in Costa Rica. With the guidance of Professor Neal BlairDr. Shelby Hatch, and Professor Karrie Snyder, Pura Playa completed a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) plastic accumulation survey of the area and will study the presence of organic pollutants in the plastic and the plastic break down process.

For more information please contact the project managers Michael Narea ( and Megan Scherich (