Addressing the global plastics crisis
Supporting the transition to a sustainable plastics economy
Photo by James Wakibia
Upcoming conference: 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.
We’re on a mission to tackle the plastics crisis for our local community and the wider world.
Committed to facing global plastics problems, Revolution Plastics is an interdisciplinary initiative drawing together colleagues from across the University of Portsmouth and assembling teams of researchers, business-leaders, campaigners and citizens who share our commitment and ambition to transform the way we make, use and dispose of the polluting material, plastic
From developing sustainable fashion, to combatting microplastics, we’re putting our research into practice, and addressing plastics pollution; generating a globally-relevant community of plastics researchers and contributing to the sustainable transition of the city of Portsmouth as a prototype and showcase for a sustainable plastics future.
We see a critical space for the University as an independent, objective evidence provider at the interface of government, businesses, citizens, and researchers.
Ready to join the revolution?
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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.
Our work is making a difference. The projects we’re working on span across all disciplines combining creativity, research and innovation to address the impact of plastic and achieve sustainability across all aspects of society, the economy and politics
Addressing the plastic crisis
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 the durability that makes plastic so versatile and appealing 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 the ocean 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 on the environment.
We’ve got to find and create solutions to the world’s plastic problem. This is where Revolution Plastics comes in.
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.
Revolution Plastics PhD scholarships
We're forming a new, innovative and interdisciplinary cohort of five PhD students cluster of PhD students in Portsmouth.
Exploring the complex problem of marine pollution from plastic packaging, students will aim to harness individual and collective discoveries to deliver actionable strategies that can be taken to confront the global plastic crisis.
We’re assembling teams of researchers, business-leaders, campaigners and citizens who share our ambition to transform the way we make, use and dispose of this polluting material.
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.
Our revolution addresses damaging environmental and health impacts arising from plastics, through:
- Transforming the potential of plastic recycling and reuse
- Engineering enzymes to break down plastics faster
- Analysing plastics policy worldwide and advocating for binding commitments under international law
- Developing new sustainable materials
- Collaborating with communities in the global south to reduce plastic pollution
- Furthering the world's understanding of how microplastics affect us all
Our multidisciplinary approach to plastics research
Revolution Plastics spans all disciplines, finding and creating ways for society, the economy and politics to adapt in order to achieve sustainability.
We’re already making progress. We've examined the effectiveness of global plastic policies, been at the heart of global conversations about the world’s plastic crisis, helped to shape a global agreement on plastic pollution, and looked at how food and drink suppliers develop packaging.
We are studying how microplastics affect our oceans, economy and the air we breathe. We are utilising arts-based participatory methods to research plastic pollution impacts and solutions'. And we’re aiming to develop a sustainable fashion and textiles social enterprise.
Explore a selection of our plastics research features.
The sustainability challenge of a plastic-wrapped world
Policy push for plastics action is needed
Using creative methods to tackle environmental problems
Microplastics in our homes
The plastic-eating enzyme that could help overcome plastic pollution
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. Our plastics research has made national and international news, and 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
The Global Plastics Policy Centre is helping to find sustainable solutions to tackle plastic pollution around the world.
Centre for Enzyme Innovation
At the Centre for Enzyme Innovation, we're researching solutions to some of the most pressing global environmental problems.
Microplastics research group
The University of Portsmouth is researching the impact of microplastics on human health and the environment, and finding innovative solutions to plastic pollution.
Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Research Group
Working to reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing by developing engineering solutions that are smarter, cleaner and sustainable.
World’s first city-wide plastic survey Harnessing people power to help with plastic pollution in Portsmouth
Breathe well live well – new study shows link between air quality and children’s lung health
All-female ocean rowing team embarks on 2,000 mile challenge around Great Britain
Reusable packaging revolution is close - experts say
National Action Plans – will they help end plastic pollution?
INC-2: How close are we to a global plastics treaty? Featuring Professor Steve Fletcher and Antaya March
Plastic recycling is failing – here’s how the world must respond
Why enzymes are the latest fashion in the fight against plastic waste in our clothes
Biodegradable plastic in clothing doesn’t break down nearly as quickly as hoped – new research
Single-use plastic bans: research shows three ways to make them effective
Jun 20 2023-
Jun 22 2023