Innovation Nation: Sally Beken on the positives of plastics

Posted on: 19/02/2018

KTN’s new podcast series launches with a look at the role plastics play.


By Katharine Rooney

The headlines have been hard to avoid in recent weeks: plastic is destroying our oceans. It’s clogging up landfill sites. It’s affecting human health.

The UK Government has proposed a number of new initiatives, from extending the charge for plastic carrier bags to small retailers to encouraging plastics-free aisles in supermarkets. Scotland is banning plastic straws entirely – and now, even the Queen has committed to using less plastic in the Royal Households.

Tackling some of the issues around this most topical of materials, in our very first Innovation for the Nation podcast, is KTN’s Knowledge Transfer Manager for Polymers, Plastics, and Elastomers, DrĀ Sally Beken.

Currently working with colleagues at InnovateUK, Sally has been working with polymer materials – including plastics – for nearly 30 years. She has a PhD in Polymer Science and while she recognises the environmental threat we’re facing, she is also an advocate for the benefits of plastics. “It’s not that plastic is bad at all,” she says. “It’s the lack of value that we place on plastic, and the discarding of it, that’s actually caused the current problem that we’ve got.”

Listen in to Sally’s thoughts about how we can use plastic more efficiently – and don’t forget to share your own views with us by tweeting @KTNUK using the hashtag #innovation4thenation.


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