The interface between a diverse team of UCL researchers and industry, government, and the public to help solve the plastic waste catastrophe
Climate change is arguably the greatest challenge of our time, posing a threat to the lives and livelihoods of billions of people, species and habitats. Plastic pollution is a significant contributor, since the rapidly increasing production and use of disposable plastic products has overwhelmed the world’s ability to deal with them. It is not too late to fix it, but correcting our plastic waste problem will require a substantial change in thinking about how plastics are made, used, and thrown away.
The EPSRC Plastic Waste Innovation Hub comprises a multidisciplinary team of researchers, including scientists, engineers, designers, and social scientists, taking a design-led approach to the issue of plastic waste. Led by Professor Mark Miodownik and funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the project takes a design approach to the issue of plastic waste by assembling a multidisciplinary team of experts from across UCL, who will create and test new interventions in eliminating plastic waste. The team will also collaborate with a Steering Committee of professionals from across the sector, including those from manufacturing, retailers, policy makers, local government, sustainability charities, and waste management.
The team believes that waste is a failure of design: whether that is a failure to design plastics that are reusable, recyclable, or compostable; a failure to design waste-collection methods that encourage a more proactive approach to recycling; a failure to design economically viable mechanical and chemical recycling processes; or a failure to design the market incentives that ensure local authorities can invest in waste-management technology. Each design failure affects and compromises the whole system, leading to the leakage of plastic into the environment, and creating an economic burden on the UK.
See the Plastic Innovation Hub website for a full list of members.
Outputs & Activities
Medda, F & Partridge, C, 2020, The evolution of pricing performance of green municipal bonds. Journal of Sustainable Finance & Investment. DOI: 10.1080/20430795.2019.1661187
Medda, F & Partridge, C, 2019, Opportunities for chemical recycling to benefit from waste policy changes in the United Kingdom. Resources, Conservation & Recycling: X. DOI: 10.1016/j.rcrx.2019.100011