Lancaster University: Lancaster University Management School research team present at global plastic conference

Lancaster University Management School’s Plastic Packaging in People’s Lives (PPiPL) team exhibited their new research project at the UK Circular Plastics Network flagship event last week; the Global Research & Innovation in Plastics Sustainability (GRIPS) conference.

The event, supported by UKRI, was the first global conference for innovation in plastics sustainability and attracted more than 3,000 attendees who came together to share knowledge, connect and discuss the latest developments in research, innovations and initiatives.

LUMS’ Plastic Packaging in People’s Lives is one of 10 university-led research projects to receive a share of £8 million in funding from the UKRI’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to tackle the issue of plastic waste in the UK.

The multi-disciplinary team of Lancaster experts behind the PPiPL project aim to fundamentally shift behaviours around food plastic packaging by undertaking a holistic examination of the packaging supply chain to close the attitude-behaviours gap in consumers’ approaches to plastic use and waste.

During last week’s global conference, the PPiPL team took part in discussions around the scale and complexity of the plastics problem and the challenges that come with eliminating plastic waste. Debates around plastics’ design, use and disposal also took place, and attendees agreed that the plastics crisis required the efforts of people, policy and organisations to align – and not be tackled alone.

Dr Charlotte Hadley (Marketing) is a Research Associate on the PPiPL project. She said: “Attending the GRIPS conference gave me the opportunity to engage with some of the key challenges underpinning the plastics crisis and understand how academic and industry research and innovations are responding to these challenges. Despite the multifaceted nature of the plastics problem, there was a general sense of working together to achieve a common goal and it was inspiring to be a part of that as a member of the PPiPL project team.”

On the final day of the conference, LUMS’ Dr Alex Skandalis, Co-Investigator on the PPiPL project, presented and took part in the panel discussion on citizen engagement, alongside panel members Laura Copsey (WRAP), Nur Baiti Wulandhari (University of Hull) and Ayse Lisa Allison (UCL) and chaired by Professor Seonaidh McDonald (UKRI).

LUMS’ Dr Alison Stowell, Co-Principal Investigator for PPiPL, said: “The GRIPS conference provided an important platform to bring together different organisations working in the area of plastics. We were delighted to be invited to take part in the event which not only enabled us to showcase our research, but also connect and learn from organisations operating in the plastics space.

“Plastic presents a complex challenge, but it was energising to see how many people and organisations are coming together to understand, collaborate and to develop solutions in this space.”

Lancaster’s PPiPL team is based within Lancaster University Management School’s research centre for Consumption Insights and involves academic specialists in marketing, supply chains, waste management, chemistry and material science. Throughout the duration of the project, the team will be working closely with partners, business, government, other researchers and households to provide research-based evidence for policymakers, supply chain businesses and consumers to drive towards cleaner, greener habits.

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