Lancaster University: Lancaster University Management School Event Tackles Planet’s Plastic Problems

Plastics are all around us – and their impact on the planet has been increasingly highlighted in the last decade.

But how can we best use plastics? How can we avoid waste, pollution, and damage to the planet? And should we actually even call them plastics in the first place?

At a special in-person and online event, experts from Lancaster University Management School (LUMS), Lancaster University’s Faculty of Science and Technology and an industrial expert, will explore the globally-important issues around plastic packaging.

What Matters Now: A Pressing Plastic Problem takes place on June 10th, from 10.30am. It is the latest event in the LUMS series addressing the big issues facing society and business today and tomorrow.

Members of the Plastic Packaging in People’s Lives (PPiPL) project will present insights from their work on consumer attitudes and behaviours towards plastic food packaging.

“Plastics have been found everywhere, from the deepest oceans to the summit of Mount Everest, to the insides of our bodies,” said Dr Alison Stowell. “But we have demonised a material which has a lot of positive aspects as well. The challenges is how to best use plastic, to avoid waste and pollution, to prevent damage to the planet, and these issues are among the most pressing facing us today.”

“Through the PPiPL project, we’re trying to get a real understanding of how people interact with plastic – and of the gap between consumers’ attitudes to plastics and their actual behaviours,” added Professor Maria Piacentini. “Not only are we looking at households and consumers, but also everyone from brands and manufacturers to retailers and waste disposal organisations. The project involves chemists, business experts and behavioural analysts, allowing us to bring expertise from across the spectrum to a key issue.”

Project leaders Dr Stowell and Professor Piacentini will present an overview of PPiPL; Dr Savita Verma will discuss the roles of businesses across the plastic food packaging supply chain; Dr Charlotte Hadley will examine consumer attitudes towards plastic; Dr John Hardy will look at the complications around post-consumption options; and Ian Schofield, a packaging and sustainability expert working with Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses, will present an industry perspective on switching away from non-recyclable plastic packaging.

The event will take place both in-person at Lancaster University Management School, and online via Zoom. It is open to all, and there will be opportunities for questions throughout.

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