A person sorting plastic waste © James Wakibia

A forum for sustainable transformation

Bringing together worldwide research and practice in plastics

Header photo © James Wakibia

PlasticsFuture 2023

20-22 June 2023
Portland Building, University of Portsmouth

PlasticsFuture 2023 is a mission-driven conference which aims to inspire new solutions to end plastic pollution. It will be an opportunity to share global research and innovation across disciplines and communities, and forge future collaborations.

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Plastic pollution is a global crisis. Since the 1950s more than 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been thrown away. 80% of this has been discarded into the environment via landfills and dumping. Plastic pollution has multiple adverse impacts and threatens human health and wellbeing, animal health and the health of complex ecosystems. Furthermore, the plastics life cycle significantly contributes to climate change. Immediate action is imperative. 

In light of the UNEP resolution to negotiate a global treaty to end plastic pollution, Revolution Plastics will bring together a wide range of stakeholders including researchers, community organisations, NGOs, industry, policymakers and practitioners from around the world to explore how we can catalyse sustainable transitions to halt the negative impacts of plastics. We will collaborate, discuss and share knowledge to build an evidence base to stimulate change. To truly create impact we need to carry on beyond the conference so we aim to grow PlasticsFuture into a thriving community of practice.


The conference will be split into six sessions, delivered over three days. We encourage everyone to attend all sessions, to gain a broad understanding of the plastics problem and possible mitigations. Sessions will consist of invited short talks, posters, roundtable discussions and workshops. The conference programme will also include installations, film screenings, exhibitions and performances. 

  • Tuesday 20th June 

Introduction and welcome - Professor Steve Fletcher, Director, and Dr Cressida Bowyer, Deputy Director, Revolution Plastics, University of Portsmouth, UK

Session 1: Microplastics - detection, transport and impacts for environmental and human health 

Chair: Dr Fay Couceiro, Reader in Biogeochemistry and Environmental Pollution, Faculty of Technology, University of Portsmouth, UK

Invited Speaker: Dr Ben Williams, Senior Research Fellow, Air Quality Management Resource Centre, University of the West of England, UK

Session 2: Exploring the current issues of plastic use within the context of fashion and textiles and the role of plastics in the future

Chairs: Noorin Khamisani, Senior Lecturer in Fashion and Textiles and co-lead of the Fashion, Textiles and Material Futures Research and Innovation Group, Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, University of Portsmouth, UK

Karen Ryan, Course Leader Fashion Marketing, and co-lead of the Fashion, Textiles and Material Futures Research and Innovation Group, Creative and Cultural Industries, University of Portsmouth, UK

Invited Speaker: Kate Goldsworthy, Professor of Circular Design and Innovation, Co-Director, Centre for Circular Design (CCD), Deputy Director, Business of Fashion Textiles & Technology (BFTT), University of the Arts London (UAL), UK 


Evening: Drinks reception on the HMS Warrior

  • Wednesday 21st June 

Session 3: The PISCES Programme

Chair: Professor Susan Jobling, PISCES Director, Principal Investigator, UK

Session 4: The Plastics That Made Us 

Chair: Professor Deborah Sugg Ryan, Professor of Design History and Theory, Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, University of Portsmouth, UK

Guest speakers: 

Session 5: Creative Solutions to Global Challenges

Chair: Dr Cressida Bowyer, Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Director of Revolution Plastics, University of Portsmouth, UK

Guest speaker: Nelmo Munyiri, Founder and Executive Director, Mukuru Youth Initiative, Nairobi, Kenya


  • The poetics of plastic - creative reflections in drawing and writing

  • Participatory arts-based methods: Forum theatre/Stakeholder

  • Enzymes as puppet engineers of the imagination

  • Microplastic Geek Workshop 2: Impacts

Evening: Conference dinner

  • Thursday 22nd June 

Session 6: Tackling plastic pollution: Global Change Perspectives

Panel discussion: How can the global plastics treaty serve as a platform for system change?

Chair: Professor Steve Fletcher, Director of the Global Plastics Policy Centre, University of Portsmouth, UK

Panel discussion: Time is of the Essence – Negotiating a plastics treaty fit for purpose

Chair: Chris Dixon, Environmental Investigation Agency

Guest speakers: 

To view the programme outline and find out more information on each session, click here

To view the conference schedule, click here

Keynote speakers

Professor Steve Fletcher smiling and looking away from the camera

Professor Steve Fletcher, University of Portsmouth

Steve Fletcher is Professor of Ocean Policy and Economy, and Director of the Global Plastics Policy Centre at the University of Portsmouth. Professor Fletcher leads the University's Revolution Plastics initiative, driving interdisciplinary research and innovation to solve challenges in production, use and disposal of plastics.

He is also Ocean Lead of the UN International Resource Panel, and works extensively with the UN family of ocean and biodiversity conventions, governments, agencies, businesses, universities and a wider network of international conservation organisations.

Professor Lesley Henderson

Professor Lesley Henderson, University of Strathclyde

Lesley Henderson is Professor of Communications at the University of Strathclyde. She founded the Sustainable Plastics Research Group at Brunel University London. Lesley is an expert in leading interdisciplinary research on public perceptions and behavioural change concerning plastic pollution in Indonesia; exploring interactions with plastics packaging, innovation and global plastics policy in the UK and EU, and addressing the role of remote satellite imaging in shaping a 'Plastic-less Society'. Lesley was an expert member of the SAPEA working group on microplastics which provided policy advice to the European Commission and has also contributed to social science related policy options for the UN and Defra. She is frequently invited by industry to give independent scientific advice.

Von Hernandez, Global Coordinator of the Break Free from Plastic movement

Von Hernandez, Break Free from Plastic

Von Hernandez is a multi-awarded environmental activist based in Manila, Philippines, who has been campaigning on waste and toxic pollution for more than 25 years.

The global Break Free from Plastic movement consists of more than 2,500 organisations, representing millions of supporters worldwide, which have come together to reverse the plastic pollution crisis.

Esrat Karim smiling with her arms folded

Esrat Karim, AMAL Foundation

Esrat Karim is the Director and Founder of Amal Foundation. She has been an advocate for climate change, social reform, and women's empowerment since before her foundation was established in 2014.  As a result of her work in education, community development, health, and women’s empowerment, she was honoured by Forbes in 2020 as one of Asia’s top 30 under 30 social entrepreneurs.  She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Finance from University of Dhaka and her Master’s degree in Social Entrepreneurship from the University of Colorado.  As an Acumen Fellow, she is running skill centres for women in different remote areas of Bangladesh.

James Wakibia

James Wakibia

James Wakibia is a Kenyan Environmental activist and photojournalist advocating for plastic bans and proper management of plastic waste. He was born in Rongai, Nakuru Kenya.  Between 2013 and 2017 he led campaigns calling for a ban on single-use plastic bags in Kenya. He uses Photography and social media to advocate for better management of plastic waste including banning of single-use plastics. 

He has also been on the forefront demanding plastic industries to be responsible for their products through better designs and innovations to make plastics that have a lower impact on the environment and which can be put into the circular economy.

His slogan is ”Less Plastic is Fantastic”.

Dr Ben Williams, University of the West of England

Dr Ben Williams, University of the West of England

Ben Williams is a Senior Research Fellow within the Air Quality Management Resource Centre at the University of the West of England (UWE), working at the interface of science, policy, and community. He co-leads UWE’s Biospheric Microplastics Research Cluster and leads Homes Under the Microscope, a UKRI funded project investigating the presence of airborne microplastics in homes, co-creating the method with citizens.

He is also a Committee Member of the International Network of Environmental Forensics and contributes to the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Healthy Urban Environments.

Nelmo Munyiri, Founder and Executive Director for Mukuru Youth Initiative in Kenya

Nelmo Munyiri, Mukuru Youth Initiative

Nelson 'Nelmo' Munyiri is travelling from Kenya to speak at the conference. Born and raised in the informal settlement of Mukuru in Nairobi, he is the founder of the Mukuru Youth Initiative which engages young people to be the agents of change within their own communities.

Nelmo is a recording and performing artist with a focus on human rights and social change, inspiring people to act on issues such as plastic pollution through music

Call for abstracts

We are calling for abstracts for posters, performances, exhibits and short talks as well as proposals to run workshops, or chair a panel discussion at the conference. In addition to academic outputs, we are inviting contributions from practitioners, NGO’s, community-based organisations and industry. We are looking for examples of innovative or creative methodologies, stakeholder engagement, policy, processes and systems that address plastic pollution.

Find out more and submit an abstract


This is primarily an in-person conference located in Portsmouth, UK. Places are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

If you have any queries, please email plasticsfutureforum@port.ac.uk.

Registration fees

  • Early bird rate (ends Friday 19 May): £110
  • Standard rate (full fee): £165

The registration fee includes:

  • Admission to all conference sessions
  • Tea, coffee and light refreshments throughout the three-day conference
  • Evening reception drinks at HMS Warrior on Tuesday 20 June
  • Evening meal and social event on Wednesday 21 June

Early bird tickets are available to buy now via Eventbrite.

Book your tickets

Stay updated

For the latest updates about the PlasticsFuture2023 conference, including abstract submissions, and programme information, you can sign up to the Revolution Plastics e-newsletter. 

Please note that by signing up to our newsletter, you consent to us sending you regular updates by email about the University of Portsmouth’s plastics research and related activities. You can cancel your subscription at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the e-newsletter.

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The conference will take place at the University's Portland Building, Portland Street, Portsmouth PO1 3AH.

Throughout the three-day conference, we’ll host a series of performances, networking and social events so you can explore the best that the city of Portsmouth has to offer. You could discover the city’s rich history, explore the famous Historic Dockyard or climb the landmark Spinnaker Tower.

Find out more about your journey to and around Portsmouth.

Places to stay in Portsmouth

There are many different places you can stay during your time in Portsmouth, including:

Join in the discussion on social media

Follow us on Twitter: @UoPPlastics

Use or search #PlasticsFuture2023 and #RevolutionPlastics to get involved

PlasticsFuture 2023 tickets

Revolution Plastics team obtained these images for research.
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Maps and directions

University of Portsmouth Quarter campus map
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PlasticsFuture 2023 schedule

Revolution Plastics team obtained these images for research.YOU MUST CREDIT James Wakibia
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