Launch of UCL Plastic Waste Innovation Hub

02 April 2019

Launch of UCL Plastic Waste Innovation Hub

The UCL Plastic Waste Innovation Hub was launched on the 18th of March and seeks to bring together staff, students, industry, policy-makers, government, waste management, charities and the public to tackle the plastic waste problem. 

Led by Professor Mark Miodownik (Mechanical Engineering), this Hub forms part of a wider EPSRC funded project - Designing-Out Plastic Waste, which takes a system design approach to plastic waste, with a UCL team of experts – Professor John Ward (Biochemical Engineering); Professor Helen Hailes (Chemistry); Professor Paola Lettieri (Chemical Engineering); Professor Francesca Medda (Civil Engineering); Dr Teresa Domenech (Institute for Sustainable Resources); Professor Susan Michie (UCL Centre for Behaviour Change). We have also assembled a Steering Committee of professionals from across the whole sector, from manufacturing, retailers, policymaking, local government, sustainability charities, waste management and others.

The Hub aims to grow this network and find solutions to plastic waste problems in all areas - materials, manufacturing, social behaviour, policy, economics. 

The launch event was attended by more than 100 people from across UCL, industry, public sector, government and the public. It  began with a welcome from the Dean of UCL Engineering (Prof Nigel Titchener-Hooker). This was followed by an overview of government policy given by Thomas Pye (DEFRA). The goals of the UK Plastic Pact and the role of WRAP were then outlined by Viktoria Salisbury (WRAP), and the work of the UK Circular Plastics Network was described by Sally Beken (Innovate UK). This was followed by a vision for the Hub and brief presentations from the core project team describing the Designing-out Plastic Waste project. Questions from the audience were wide ranging; there was a significant interest in the causal relationship between plastic waste, marine pollution and the role of the fishing industry. The availability of 15 summer studentships to study different aspects of the plastic waste problem was also announced. 

To find out more about the project, please check our summary video.