Mission and Scope

The BioEnvironmental Polymer Society, Inc. (BEPS). The quest for sustainable resources to meet the demands of a rapidly rising global population while mitigating risks of increasing CO2 emissions and associated climate change represents a grand challenge for humanity. Biomass offers the most readily implemented solution to non-petroleum organic molecules for the manufacture of bulk, fine and specialty chemicals, polymers and transportation fuels. Biomass feedstocks vary widely and include lignocellulosics, other carbohydrates, protein, oil-based and other materials derived from plant or aquatic sources. BEPS is a nonprofit society that seeks to:

  1. Advance fundamental knowledge of the design, chemical/biochemical synthesis, processing, analyses and applications of polymers derived from readily renewable carbon.
  2. Feature new technology and commercial successes presented by new, small and large businesses.
  3. Welcome research related to biorefineries that focuses on developing individual biomass process streams that contain primary biomass components and the effective integration of these streams.
  4. Promote basic research, education/training as well as to facilitate information exchange among researchers in the areas of biology, chemistry, engineering, materials science, life-cycle analysis, agriculture, environmental and wildlife protection, forestry, environmental policy, and waste management.

Activities of the Society

Information Exchange

The primary mechanism of information exchange is through the BEPS website and participation at our Annual Meeting. These meetings are typically in August or September and consist of scientific, marketing, and informational presentations over several days. A broad range of topics is presented at the meeting through both oral and poster sessions. Key topics included in annual meetings are as follows:

  • Progress on Commercialization Efforts of Biobased Monomers, Polymers, and corresponding materials
  • Green routes for polymer chemical or enzymatic recycling
  • Polymers used for application in foods, nutrition, and agriculture
  • Innovative Developments in processing bio-based plastics
  • Innovations in chemical and biocatalytic routes to monomers and polymers
  • Innovative Chemical Processes for conversion of lignocellulose to value-added products
  • Progress on commercialization
  • Biopolyesters
  • Green Chemical Catalysts for biobased monomer and polymer synthesis
  • Protein-based materials
  • Biocatalytics routes to natural polymers
  • Carbohydrate-based Materials
  • Modification of natural polymers to tune physical and biological properties | * Biobased macromers
  • Metabolic and protein engineering to develop catalysts for Green Polymer Chemistry
  • Biobased composites, coatings, structural materials
  • Biofibers
  • Life-cycle analysis of biobased processes
  • Nanocomposites
  • Studies of Polymer biodegradability (soil, marine, compost, anaerobic digestion) and other end-of-life options
  • Process Developments (e.g. continuous bioprocesses, downstream aspects)

BEPS meeting organizers balance a very full meeting program with a need to offer free time for informal meetings among the attendees. We hold our Poster Session in conjunction with a social event. By placing posters in the same room with food and beverage, we have substantially increased the discussion time spent here by most of our meeting attendees! Our Annual Meeting programs are well attended; the past several meetings have accommodated between 130-170 people.


The Bio-Environmental Polymer Society was founded in 1992. Those involved in the formative stages included Richard Gross, Sam Huang, Dave Kaplan, Steve McCarthy, and Denise Rutherford. A critical meeting in the formative stage was “Symposium on Environmentally Degradable Polymers: Technical, Business and Public Perspectives,” August 13-15, 1991, Chelmsford, MA, USA. Steve McCarthy and Richard Gross organized this meeting. It was a first of symposium of its kind, attended by approximately 140 scientists representing major corporations, government laboratories, and universities. Even though it was advertised 4 months prior to the meeting, the attendance was incredibly high. A group of about 25 to 30 attendees came from Japan. This meeting was created shortly after colleagues in Japan had started a Biodegradable Polymer Society. Having all the right people at the Chelmsford meeting led to discussions that ultimately resulted in the formation of a new society: Bio/Environmentally Degradable Polymer Society (BEDPS), the name was adapted to Bio-Environmentally Polymer Society (BEPS) to reflect interest in synthetic, renewable (bio-based), and degradable polymers.

Founding Members

  • Sam Huang - President
  • Graham Swift - President-Elect
  • Robert Lenz - Vice President
  • David Kaplan - Secretary-Treasurer
  • R.C. Fuller - Councilor
  • Anthony Sinsky - Councilor
  • James Hammar - Membership Chair
  • Richard Gross - Education Chair
  • Stephen McCarthy - Publication Chair
  • Ramani Narayan - Intersociety Chair
  • Denise Rutherford - Nomination Chair
  • Michel Bitritti - Nomination Committee
  • Raymond Ottenbrite - Nomination Committee
  • Jean Mayer - Education Committee

Past Meetings

1992 - 1st - San Francisco, CA, US - Sam Huang
1993 - 2nd - Chicago, IL, US - Graham Swift
1994 - 3rd - Boston, MA, US - James Hammar and Richard Gross
1995 - 4th - Durham, NH, US - Stephen McCarthy
1996 - 5th - Nashville, TN, US - David Kaplan
1997 - 6th - San Diego, CA, US - Charles Buchanan
1998 - 7th - Cambridge, MA, US - Denise Rutherford
1999 - 8th - New Orleans, LA, US - Richard Gross
2000 - 9th - Honolulu, HI, US - in conjunction with PacifiChem Meeting ACS - Stephen Godowin
2001 - Meeting cancelled - Julius Willet
2002 - 10th - Albuquerque, NM, US - Gunnar Schornick
2003 - 11th - Denver, CO, US - William Orts
2004 - 12th - Monterrey, NL, MX - John Dorgan
2005 - Meeting cancelled
2006 - 13th - Chicago, IL, US - Geoff Nobes
2007 - 14th - Vancouver, WA, US - Richard Ashby
2008 - 15th - Nashua, NH, US - Gregory Glenn
2009 - 16th - Chicago, UL, US - Manju Misra
2010 - 17th - Toronto, ON, CA - Amar Mohanty
2011 - 18th - Vienna, AT - Alexandr Bismarck
2012 - 19th - Denton, TX, US - Nandika D’Souza
2013 - 20th - Warwick, Coventry, UK - Kerry Kinwan
2014 - 21st - Kansas City, KS, US -
2015 -
2016 - 23rd - Karlsruhe, DE -
2017 - 24th - Albany, CA, US - Gregory Glenn
2018 - 25th - Troy, NY, US - Richard Gross
2019 - 26th - Clemson, SC, US - Srikanth Pilla

Last updated: 28 JUN 2021