Director Focuses on Sustainability | ECTC

Director Focuses on Sustainability

Steve SargeantSteven Sargeant, a member of ECTC’s Board of Directors, is committed to helping to sustain the planet by enhancing the value of plastic waste. As the Senior General Manager of Technology at FlexFilms in Elizabethtown, Steve has used his chemical engineering expertise to develop an energy-efficient process for recycling polyester (plastics).  FlexFilms, which produces plastic film used in packaging for snacks, pet food, drinks, cosmetics, cleaning products and much more, has applied for a patent on the new product, called Asclepius, that was designed and is produced in Kentucky. The product has been awarded the high-level Kingfisher certification and recognized with the Excellence in Sustainability Award from AIMCAL.

“The value of our trash needs to increase,” explained Steve, “because then there’s economic incentive for society to use it instead of dumping it in landfills.” A global expert in recycling, he said that technological advances are reducing energy consumption and pollution, especially in developed countries like the US, Europe and Japan.  Advanced societies are finding ways to recycle, repurpose and convert plastics and other waste into useful products, like roads and houses, using just a fraction of the energy needed to produce the original product.

“We’ve been talking about climate change for a long time, and it’s real. But there are highly intelligent people working on sustainable energy sources, and they want the Earth to survive and thrive as much as anyone does,” said Steve. “I would tell young students today to become lifelong learners, because technology will continue to change at an increasingly rapid rate. If they’re wondering about careers of the future, energy production and sustainability initiatives are at the top of the list.”

Although his formal education includes the Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Southern California, and Cornell University, Steve is quick to point out that he began his higher education at Monroe County Community College in Rochester, NY, where he took chemistry classes at night. “I believe in the mission of ECTC and community colleges. It’s where I got my start, and you are doing great things to prepare students to address the challenges of the future. I’m proud to support ECTC on the Board of Directors.”