Project: Designing-Out Plastic Waste
About The Project
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.
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).