Jeanny (Jia Yun) Yao

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Jeanny (Jia Yun) Yao

2018 Climate Fellow
Founder of BioCellection with Miranda (Yu Wen) Wang

Jeanny (Jia Yun) Yao 2018 Climate Fellow

Bold Idea 

Reduce the amount of plastics that U.S. cities send to oceans and landfills by developing a new chemical recycling technology that treats contaminated and unrecyclable plastic waste.


Jeanny Yao, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of BioCellection, running an experiment. Credit: Courtesy of BioCellection Inc.
Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao survey plastic content at San Jose’s industrial compost facility. Credit: Courtesy of BioCellection Inc.

BioCellection is tackling the global crisis of plastic pollution by inventing and scaling economical recycling solutions for currently unrecyclable plastic waste. BioCellection's team of chemists, engineers, and waste experts has developed a chemical process that transforms plastics into biodegradable compounds for sustainable supply chains. BioCellection is partnered with city governments, waste companies, corporates, and schools to circularize plastics. The team aspires to process seventeen metric tons of plastic waste in northern California during its 2018 pilot, and to divert more than three thousand metric tons per year of plastic films in each major U.S. metropolitan center at commercial scale.


Jeanny Yao is co-founder and chief technology officer of BioCellection. At the age of 17, Jeanny presented her research findings on plastics degradation and upcycling at the TED2013 conference together with her then-research partner, Miranda Wang. Prior to co-founding BioCellection, she conducted plastics research at the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto in Canada. She was named one of MacLean's "Ones to Watch" (2013) and selected by Plan Canada as one of the "Top 20 Under 20" (2014). Jeanny was the co-recipient of the Penn-Columbia Social Impact Fellowship (2016) and is the first-named inventor of all BioCellection patents. Jeanny holds an Honors Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and environmental science from the University of Toronto.

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