With consumers across the UK demanding a switch away from plastic, unprecedented development into plastic alternatives, new business models and alternatives ways of thinking are required. While both industry and government have recognised the need to re-invent the UK plastics economy, enacting real-world change requires cooperation and communication across the sector.

A gap has been identified in the knowledge of emerging technologies and innovative social and economic approaches towards increasing the circularity of plastics in the UK. We are working with the UK Circular Plastics Network (UKCPN), an initiative supported by UK Research and Innovation and the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), a partner of Innovate UK, to close this gap and better understand the capability of the UK’s research and innovation bodies. As part of this, we are conducting a wide-scale assessment of the scope of current technological, economic and social research into the circular plastics economy being carried out in the UK.

A key part of this research involves interviewing leading academics and researchers on the current landscape of research, funding, capacity and collaboration in this field. The outputs will be a database and report that provide an overview of the current UK research and capabilities, thereby increasing visibility of current research in a concise and searchable manner with the potential to lead to future collaborations, industry uptake of research and future investment. KTN will use the outcomes of this research to inform future events and government funding.

Veronica Sanchez‑Romaguera Knowledge Transfer Manager for Circularity and Smart Materials from KTN and UKCPN said:

“We are excited to be working with Eunomia on such a crucial project for development in the industry.”

We encourage academics involved in this area of work to get in touch if they would like to participate in this study. Please contact Joe Hudson or Kat Rowland for more information.

Photo courtesy of Bill Stilwell via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.