Skip to main content



New policy briefing on compostable plastics

There is currently no system for collection or processing of compostable plastic in the UK. Government must develop plans for dealing with this growing waste stream.


Join us for a free public webinar - Tuesday 24th November, 3:30 pm GMT

Join this free public webinar to hear about our latest research on compostable plastics.


Hub researchers win commission for public art project

Charnett Chau and Danielle Purkiss from the UCL Plastic Waste Innovation Hub, together with artist Sarah Carne, have been awarded £15,000 by UCL Culture to participate in Trellis: Public Art 2020-21.


New publication on single-use masks

The UCL Plastic Waste Innovation Hub has produced new analysis on the environmental dangers of employing single-use face masks as part of a COVID-19 exit strategy.


Live compost reveal

As part of this year's Cheltenham Science Festival


Co-designing solutions to the plastic-waste problem

A summary report of our community-building workshop

Plastic Waste Innovation Hub

About Us


Designing-out Plastic Waste

This 18-month project, funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), brings together a diverse team of UCL researchers interested in solving the UK's plastic waste problem. Our aim is to develop new ways to design-out waste from plastic packaging and create new business opportunities. We believe 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.

Led by Professor Mark Miodownik, 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.

To understand more about the genesis of the project, you can listen to Professor Mark Miodownik's three-part radio programme, ‘Plastic Fantastic’, for BBC Radio 4 here.

Our Objectives

  • Develop enzyme-catalysed recycling technologies
  • Design novel solutions
  • Interface with the public through the Hub


  • Public policy
  • Behaviour change
  • Economics
  • Design
  • Chemistry
  • Biochemical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Digital
  • Materials Science

Global outlook

  • Researchers
  • Shoppers
  • Businesses
  • NGOs
  • Teachers
  • Department for International Development (DFID)
  • Schools
  • Students
  • Families


The fund is managed by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), delivered via the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Innovate UK, with strategic oversight from Professor Duncan Wingham, Executive Chair of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

Contact Us

UCL Plastic Waste Innovation Hub

Level 2, 90 Tottenham Court Road

London. W1T 4TJ