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Join host Paul Shapiro as he talks with some of the leading start-up entrepreneurs and titans of industry alike using their businesses to help solve the world’s most pressing problems.

Jan 1, 2023

Nearly none of the plastic we use gets recycled. Even the plastic we throw into the recycling bin often ends up in landfills since it’s just not economical to recycle the plastic, especially now that China has banned imports of American plastic waste. So what are we going to do with the vast oceans of plastic we love to use?

Shelly Zhang has an idea. As you’ll hear in this episode, the death of Shelly’s father led to the birth of her company, Molten Materials. Armed with her PhD in engineering, Shelly has pioneered a method of taking plastic waste and upcycling it into pavement sealers, asphalt rejuvenators, and more.

In other words, she’s betting that she can take our trash and turn it into her treasure, all while solving the pressing problem of what to do with all our plastic waste. 

Already, Shelly’s earned seed investment, hired a dozen team members, filed for various patents, and is now readying her first-ever product, an upcycled-plastic DIY pavement sealer you can use on your own driveway or other cracked surfaces. 

Her story is an inspirational one, moving to the US from China, earning her PhD, and now founding her own company. I think you’ll be impressed, so let me allow Shelly to tell you her story herself.

Discussed in this episode

More about Shelly Zhang

Shelly Zhang earned her PhD from California Institute of Technology (Caltech). In 2020 Shelly founded Molten Materials, her vision is to create a clean and sustainable world for future generations by replacing big oil. She believes that through technological innovation, it is achievable to solve the toughest problems our world faces."