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Behind the Scenes of the ‘Talk Green to Me Podcast’ With SEE Scientist Manali Banerjee

Manali Banerjee is a Senior Scientist at SEE who is working on the development of new products using natural/fiber-based materials on the protective packaging Innovation & Development team. Prior to joining SEE, Manali received her doctorate in Materials Science and Engineering from Georgia Tech. Her work focused on using natural materials like cellulose for pharmaceutical applications.  She’s a firm believer in renewable biomaterials and is excited to be able to leverage natural fibers to develop new products at SEE. She lives in Charlotte, N.C., where the company is headquartered, with her husband, Eddie, and their (slightly crazy) dog, Mocha. Outside of work, she hosts a podcast to help educate others on the latest findings surrounding sustainability, recycling, and more.  

Tell us a bit about your podcast?   “Talk Green to Me” is a podcast about materials and sustainability. Our goal is to explain different material properties, how they fit into the sustainability ladder, and how recycling of these materials works. We want people to know what happens once they put something in the recycling bin. How does it get turned back into a new product? We also want to highlight new and interesting materials that are being used to replace existing ones like plant-based leather.   

The idea is to give our audience insight into the science and technology behind recycling and behind making new products. 

What made you want to start a podcast?  My cohost, Nasreen Khan, and I were both working on our doctoral degrees in Materials Engineering in 2018. We both worked on cellulose materials and were both very interested in using renewable materials and bio-based materials. Not to mention, we had learned a lot during our doctorates about recycling and sustainability.   

We realized during this time that most people don’t fully understand recycling, especially from a materials perspective. So, we saw an opportunity and wanted to share our knowledge, while also finding out what actually happens when you throw something in the recycling bin. Since we are both materials scientists, we wanted to go at this from a materials and process standpoint.   

We started recording early 2019 and released our first episode around Earth Day of 2019. 

Talk Green to Me is a catchy name, how did you come up with it?  By throwing around different ideas, we wanted it to be catchy but relevant. Nasreen came up with Talk Green to Me, which conveys that we are talking about sustainability and hoping to keep it pretty lighthearted. Although, we sometimes do get quite technical on the podcast since we are ultimately materials science nerds.  

If you could have anyone on the podcast, who would it be?  Obviously, people like Ellen MacArthur and Al Gore since they are pioneers and have contributed heavily to bringing the issues of sustainability to the forefront. But in reality, we are trying to bring smaller companies to light and want to provide exposure for new companies and new material development.   

I’m so interested in the materials science side of sustainability. So, I really want to popularize and advertise new materials like seaweed and lignin and lab grown meat. There is a lot of potential to be tapped into with these renewable and naturally occurring materials and we want to use the podcast to highlight these achievements.

Most challenging parts of hosting a podcast?  Finding the time to write up episodes, record, edit, (and make sure we did not sound too boring and dry while writing up fact after fact). For us, editing and the production side definitely takes the longest. Since we are still amateurs in recording, there are a lot of pauses, and we spend quite a bit of time editing out gaps or things that we say wrong. But it makes it fun too, we can listen to the blooper reel of our own mistakes whenever we want!  

We thought finding interviewees would be harder, but after getting a few episodes out there, many people have reached out and want to be hosted to share information about their companies and their sustainable products. Which is a very positive reaction, we love to see people getting more interested in engaging directly with consumers and listeners. 

How often do you have new episodes?  We aim for new episodes every month. Typically, we have an episode about a specific material or topic, such as say aluminum or alternative proteins or advanced recycling. My cohost and I will discuss the topic by going through the material or topic itself: the process of making it or how it works, and then some government policies that are related to it.   

Two to three weeks later, we will release the interview that we conduct with someone who works in that area and who is able to tell us first-hand about their company or the process of recycling the material or making a new type of product such as plant-based leather.

“Talk Green to Me” is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Soundcloud. For more information, visit the “Talk Green to Me” Twitter and Instagram at @tgtmpodcast.  


Amanda Murvin

Amanda Murvin is an Internal Communications Manager at Sealed Air. She writes stories about employees, the employee experience, company culture, and is responsible for employee communications and strategy.

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Amanda Murvin
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Internal Communications Manager

Amanda Murvin is an Internal Communications Manager at Sealed Air. She writes stories about employees, the employee experience, company culture, and is responsible for employee communications and strategy.