Fashion design by Ashley Sookhai Bassett. Photo by Tom Buller.

Addressing the global plastics crisis

Catalysing a transition to a sustainable future

We’re on a mission to tackle the plastics crisis for our local community and the wider world. 

From developing sustainable fashion to combatting microplastics, we’re putting our research into practice, working with local groups, organisations, businesses and individuals to solve the plastic problem.

We’re assembling teams of scientists, business-leaders, campaigners and citizens who share our ambition to transform the way we make, use and dispose of this polluting material. You too can join the Revolution. 

Ready to join the revolution?

Use the links below to jump to different sections of the page. 

Revolution Plastics: Join the revolution and address the global plastics crisis

Professor Steve Fletcher invites you to join the University of Portsmouth in its ambition to drive change in the plastics sector and create a sustainable future.

The University of Portsmouth is working on a transformative programme focussed on sustainability and the environment, Revolution Plastics. This is our initiative to really drive change, in particular in the plastics sector. We're working at three levels, what we call the triple transformation.

We're working to transform the university's own environment and sustainability performance to be one of the world's leading green universities. 

We're working to build a research community within the university that draws from a whole range of disciplines. This includes fashion, urban design, enzyme innovation, our marine scientists and geographers. 

And the third part of our transformation is working with city authorities and partners within the city to really drive Portsmouth's transformation to a sustainable city. 

We believe very strongly that we can't do everything and we need to work in partnership with others. We're working on projects with the G20. We're working with the UN Environment Programme, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the World Bank and a whole host of leading researchers to really drive our research programme around plastics and sustainability. 

I believe that it has the potential to be truly transformative, both for the people of Portsmouth and for the wider world.

And this is where you can help.

Your involvement and energy in helping supporters on that journey would be amazing. So we'd invite you to join the revolution and play your part. 

PlasticsFuture 2023: A forum for sustainable transformation

20-22 June 2023

PlasticsFuture 2023 is our mission-driven conference aiming 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.

Find out more

featured news


Addressing the plastic crisis is our mission

We use plastic in almost every area of our lives – as packaging, in electronics, clothing and building materials. Plastic is inexpensive and easy to make. It’s unmatched in its cost-effective durability and resistance to degradation.

But this attractive durability has created a global plastic crisis. Some plastics take more than 400 years to break down, and around 11 million metric tons of plastic ends up in our oceans every year. Half of all plastic becomes waste within a year of being made, yet most isn’t recycled. Our planet is suffocating in plastic. We need radical action to halt this trend and limit the damaging consequences of plastic pollution on our health and the environment.

We’ve got to find solutions to the world's plastic problem. That’s where Revolution Plastics comes in.

Our ambition

We’re assembling teams of scientists, business-leaders, campaigners and citizens who share our ambition to transform the way we make, use and dispose of this polluting material.

Revolution Plastics is led by Professor Steve Fletcher and Dr Cressida Bowyer. Our mission is guided by the expertise of our Advisory Council, composed of senior executives from organisations and sectors that play a role in plastics and sustainability. 

We've signed up to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. We're a member of their Network and the University of Portsmouth is profiled in their Higher Education Network of Universities. We were also invited to join the UN Global Partnership on Marine Litter.

Our revolution will ensure the elimination of damaging environmental and health impacts arising from plastics, through:

  • Innovative technology that transforms methods of plastic production, use and disposal. 
  • An inclusive new plastics economy based on circular principles. 
  • Informed citizens so people make better choices about using and disposing of plastic. 
  • New governance approaches that incentivise sustainable plastic production, use and disposal. 
  • Partnerships with industry and policy makers to inspire sustainability initiatives and action

Our multidisciplinary approach to plastics research

All aspects of society, the economy and politics need to adapt to achieve sustainability. Revolution Plastics therefore spans all disciplines.

We’re already making progress. We've looked at how food and drink suppliers develop packaging. Studied how microplastics affect our oceanseconomy and the air we breathe. And we’re aiming to develop a sustainable fashion and textiles social enterprise.

Learn more by reading a selection of our plastics research features.

Policy push for plastics action is needed

Professor Steve Fletcher
drawing of turtle composed of plastic waste
Read more

Using creative methods to tackle environmental problems

Dr Cressida Bowyer
Children in Nairobi Kenya
Read more

Microplastics in our homes

Dr Fay Couceiro
Microplastics fibres in the air
Read more

The plastic-eating enzyme that could help overcome plastic pollution

Professor John McGeehan
plastic pollution on a beach
Read more

Research centres

Revolution Plastics builds on the momentum of our globally-acclaimed plastics research in developing a plastic-dissolving enzyme that can digest some of the most polluting plastics. This research made national and international news, and won Research Project of the Year 2019. Our plastics research is supported by our Centre for Enzyme Innovation, which works with industry partners to advance the circular recycling of plastics.

In November 2021, we launched our Global Plastics Policy Centre — designed to give governments and industry groups the evidence needed to make better decisions on plastic policies. The Centre is the first of its kind and will provide a central point for information, effectiveness and barriers to plastics policy success.

Global Plastics Policy Centre

Large pile of plastic waste
Read more

Centre for Enzyme Innovation

Plastics bottles
Read more

Microplastics Research Group

Microplastics and synthetic fibres on a beach
Read more

Plastic as Materials: Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Research Group

Colourful plastic chairs at tables in street
Read more

Current research projects

Researchers

Stephen Fletcher Portrait

Professor Steve Fletcher

Theme Professor (Environment and Sustainability)

Steve.Fletcher@port.ac.uk

School of the Environment Geography and Geosciences

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

Read more
Cressida Jane Bowyer Portrait

Media ready expert

Dr Cressida Bowyer

Senior Research Fellow

cressida.bowyer@port.ac.uk

Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries

PhD Supervisor

Read more
Fay Couceiro Portrait

Media ready expert

Dr Fay Couceiro

Principal Research Fellow

Fay.Couceiro@port.ac.uk

School of Civil Engineering and Surveying

Faculty of Technology

PhD Supervisor

Read more
Keiron Philip Roberts Portrait

Media ready expert

Dr Keiron Roberts

Senior Lecturer

Keiron.Roberts@port.ac.uk

School of Civil Engineering and Surveying

Faculty of Technology

Read more
Joanne Preston Portrait

Media ready expert

Dr Joanne Preston

Reader in Marine Ecology and Evolution

joanne.preston@port.ac.uk

School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

Read more
Andrew Robert Pickford Portrait

Media ready expert

Professor Andrew Pickford

Professor of Molecular Biophysics

Andy.Pickford@port.ac.uk

School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

Read more
Antaya Lauren Alexandra March Portrait

Media ready expert

Miss Antaya March

Senior Research Associate

Antaya.March@port.ac.uk

School of the Environment Geography and Geosciences

Faculty of Business and Law

Read more
Hom Nath Dhakal Portrait

Media ready expert

Professor Hom Dhakal

Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Hom.Dhakal@port.ac.uk

School of Mechanical and Design Engineering

Faculty of Technology

PhD Supervisor

Read more

Explore related news, blogs and podcasts

News

Saving our UK coastlines by working in partnership

20 January 2023

Saving our UK coastlines by working in partnership

Keynote speakers announced for landmark conference to help end plastic pollution

13 December 2022

Keynote speakers announced for landmark conference to help end plastic pollution

Using art and song to help solve South African plastic waste crisis

5 December 2022

Using art and song to help solve South African plastic waste crisis

New investigation reveals traditional roast dinner contains 230,000 microplastics

28 November 2022

New investigation reveals traditional roast dinner contains 230,000 microplastics

World needs ambitious 0% new plastic waste target by 2040

8 November 2022

World needs ambitious 0% new plastic waste target by 2040

Blogs

Single-use plastic bans: research shows three ways to make them effective

Tegan Evans

Single-use plastic bans: research shows three ways to make them effective

Mapping Microplastics ft. Dr Fay Couceiro

Mapping Microplastics ft. Dr Fay Couceiro

Why the UK needs to stop exporting plastic waste

Steve Fletcher

Why the UK needs to stop exporting plastic waste

Solutions to Global Plastic Pollution

Solutions to Global Plastic Pollution

Can aquatic plants trap microplastics in chalk rivers and streams

Can aquatic plants trap microplastics in chalk rivers and streams

Events

Jun 20 2023

-

Jun 22 2023

PlasticsFuture 2023: a forum for sustainable transformation

10.00am - 5.00pm

£110 (Early Bird Ticket) or £165 (General Admission)

PlasticsFuture 2023: a forum for sustainable transformation

View media coverage for Revolution Plastics.


 

Group of people in a meeting smiling

Collaborate with us

World leading research and practice doesn’t happen in isolation. That’s why we're working with partners in business, government, the not-for-profit sector and academia around the world to understand the impact of plastic on our environment and develop solutions to reduce it. And we’re looking for more partners to join us.

If you share our ambition for a plastic revolution, please join us. We can partner with you on research projects, funding bids and commercial product innovation. You can also commission us to undertake research on your behalf.

Get in touch with us today


 

Transforming Portsmouth

We’re putting our research into practice.

Together we want to transform Portsmouth into a global showcase for how to achieve a sustainable plastics future.

The city is home to an increasing number of organisations and groups advocating urban sustainability, ocean conservation and plastic waste reduction — such as Jetsam, a plastic-tracking app co-developed by one of our graduates. We also work with Portsmouth Football Club to arrange local beach cleans.

The Portsmouth Climate Action Board is chaired by Professor Steve Fletcher and the University partnered with the city council to run the first Portsmouth Climate Festival in 2021.

Our links to local organisations include:

Aerial Photograph of Portsmouth

We want to work with more local organisations and are planning on hosting events, talks, surveys and other activities so you can get involved in the plastic revolution too. 

If you’re part of a local organisation tackling the plastic problem and you want to collaborate with us, please get in touch.

Get in touch

If you'd like to find out more about Revolution Plastics, get involved with plastic surveys in Portsmouth, enquire about becoming a partner or tell us about your plastic related initiative, please contact us via the form below.

Alternatively, you can sign up to receive our Revolution Plastics e-newsletter. We'll send information about activities that might be useful to those with an interest in developing a sustainable future for plastics, including details of our conferences, events, research and opportunities to collaborate. We hope you find the information useful but if you don’t, you can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the e-newsletter.