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.
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.
Our new report examining the effectiveness of global plastic policies concludes that current approaches will not produce the step change needed to tackle the plastic pollution 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 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.
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
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 oceans, economy 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.
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.
Current research projects
The MicroSEAP project seeks to understand the impact plastic pollution has on marine ecosystems in South East Asia and find solutions to the problem.
Learn more about our collaborative project to help reduce plastic waste in low and middle income countries.
The world’s first programme of city-wide plastic pollution surveys using a citizen science-based approach.
In collaboration with GB Row, we're undertaking a detailed survey of microplastics, e-DNA and noise pollution around Great Britain’s waters.
Named after the Portsmouth postcode district, this project aims to create a sustainable fashion system.
This project aims to reduce marine litter through the development of biodegradable fishing gear.
We’re a partner in a project that’s repurposing ‘lost plastics’ and developing ways to increase urban recycling rates to over 50%.
This project aims to develop natural fibre composites that are environmentally-friendly, alternatives to glass fibre composites for the automotive, marine, and advertising sectors.
- Job Title Professor of Ocean Policy and Economy, and Director of the Sustainability and the Environment Research Theme
- Email Address Steve.Fletcher@port.ac.uk
- Department School of the Environment Geography and Geosciences
- Faculty Faculty of Science and Health
- PhD Supervisor PhD Supervisor
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.
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.
Our links to local organisations include:
- Jetsam – a plastic-tracking app co-developed by one of our graduates
- The Big Microplastics Survey – a project run in collaboration with Just One Ocean
- See Bin Sea Change – a programme which raised awareness of plastic pollution
- Portsmouth Climate Action Board – chaired by Professor Steve Fletcher
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.
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.