Watch how two PRIF-funded research projects aim to reduce the impact of plastics

Posted on: 15/02/2019

EPSRC have released interviews on two PRIF-funded projects which seek to reduce global plastic waste.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) have released two videos demonstrating two of the Plastics Research and Innovation Fund (PRIF) projects.


In the first video, Tony Ryan,¬†Director of Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures & Professor at the University of Sheffield, explains the University of Sheffield’s ‘Plastics: Redefining Single-Use’ project, which brings together 30 academics from a wide range of disciplines at the university (including medicine, languages, sciences) to find a solution to minimise plastic waste.¬†Tony Ryan elucidates on the imperative need to address the global plastics crisis by explaining that there’s 7 billion tonnes of plastic on earth, with 10 million tonnes leaking into the sea every year.

Their project looks at single-use plastics in food and fast-moving consumer goods packaging, as well as their plastic ingredients and medical products. It will involve four cross-disciplinary teams addressing the circular plastic economy from a technological perspective to understand how societal behaviour adapts to increased environmental understanding, regulatory nudges, intervention, and new product development.

You can watch the interview with Tony Ryan to find out more about the University of Sheffield’s project here.


The second video¬†features an interview with Professor Mark Miodownik at University College London, who describes UCL’s ‘Designing-out Plastic Waste’ project, which aims to look at new and innovative methods to recycle plastics. Mark Miodownik explains that if we carry on the way we’re going, there will be more plastic waste in the ocean than fish by 2050.¬† To combat this, UCL’s project looks at the use of bacteria which eat plastics as a form of recycling. They also propose a citizens science project to mobilise the public to raise awareness of which plastics end up in the environment, with UCL mapping the data.

You can watch the interview with Mark Miodownik to find out more about UCL’s ‘Designing-out Plastic Waste’ project here.


These two projects are funded via the ¬£20 million Plastics Research and Innovation Fund, which is engaging Britain’s best scientists and innovators to help move the country towards more circular economy and sustainable approaches to plastics. In total there are eight projects funded through the UKRI-managed PRIF, which explore new ways of making, using and recycling plastics.¬†The eight universities involved are the The University of Exeter, The University of Manchester, University College London, University of Hull, University of Cambridge, Queen‚Äôs University Belfast, University of Sheffield, and Imperial College London. You can read more about all of the projects here.

UK Circular Plastics Network (UKCPN) is working closely with these projects by sharing knowledge and facilitating collaborations with business. For more information on UKCPN please click here.

You can sign up to become a member of the UK Circular Plastics Network for free by clicking here.

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