Empty plastic bottles entangled in clear bags

Addressing the global plastics crisis

Catalysing a transition to a sustainable future

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.

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But this attractive durability has created a global plastic crisis. Some plastics take more than 400 years to break down, and around 8 million 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. 

Something has to be done. That’s where Revolution Plastics comes in.

How we’re tackling plastics pollution and sustainability

Addressing the plastic crisis is our mission

We’ve got to build a world that’s more sustainable. And find solutions to the world's 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.

We’re starting a revolution to ensure the damaging environmental and health impacts arising from unsustainable plastic production, use and disposal are eliminated, 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
In 2019, we were awarded £5.8 million from the Research England Expanding Excellence Fund. We’ve also invested a significant amount of funding to speed up our progress towards finding a solution to the plastic crisis. 

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 working across our faculties and collaborating with researchers around the globe — leading projects in areas such as:

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

Revolution Plastics builds on the momentum of our globally-acclaimed plastics research. 

We were heavily involved 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.

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

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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.

Email us today

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Transforming Portsmouth

Portsmouth is home to an increasing number of organisations and groups advocating urban sustainability, ocean conservation and plastic waste reduction.

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.

We want to work with more local organisations and are planning on hosting events, talks 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.

Our links to local organisations include:
See Bin Sea Change organises free public events to raise awareness of plastic pollution 
The Big Microplastics Survey is a citizen science project run in collaboration with Just One Ocean, looking at microplastics lakes, rivers and coastlines 
Jetsam is a mobile phone app developed by our graduates, which allows you to record plastic found on the Portsmouth coastline
Portsmouth Climate Action Board is chaired by Professor Steve Fletcher, Director of our Sustainability and the Environment research theme.

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