Chris is an environmental economist whose current work is largely focused on the practical application of economic instruments to prevent litter and waste, and to improve materials management across the EU and beyond.
He directs the majority of Eunomia’s work on marine litter, including microplastics, focusing not only on the scale and nature of the sources and impacts, but on developing effective and cost-effective policy responses in line with the waste hierarchy and circular economy principles.
A particular strength is his knowledge of the design features of deposit-return schemes (DRS) for beverage containers, and the ways in which these can be configured to deliver the desired outcomes of litter prevention and high quality closed loop recycling at least cost. He has led several studies for a range of clients in recent years looking at optimal initiation and operation of a DRS and the role of appropriate supporting instruments.
As an acknowledged expert in preventing plastic pollution, Chris is frequently called upon to advise Governments, industry, and NGOs. In addition to frequent media appearances on the topic, in recent years Chris has advised the South African Government on measures to prevent plastics reaching the marine environment, and has given expert evidence to the UK Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee.
His expertise spans:
- Design and initiation of deposit return schemes for beverage containers
- The use of economic instruments for waste prevention, and to incentivise high levels of recycling and recycled content
- Extended producer responsibility schemes
- Terrestrial and marine litter
- Marine plastic pollution including microplastics
- Policy design
- Ex ante appraisal
- Cost-benefit analysis
Chris’s recent and current projects include:
- A study for DG Environment of the European Commission investigating options for reducing the emission of microplastics from a range of sources including vehicle tyre wear, synthetic clothing, artificial sports turf infill, and plastic pellets, powders and flakes.
- A project for the Norwegian Environment Agency examining the effects of switching away from a range of single-use plastic items to reusable and/or non-plastic alternatives
- Several studies for private clients and NGOs looking to better understand the effects of different design options on the performance and cost of deposit-return schemes across Europe and the US
- Research for the Welsh Government on policy measures to tackle a number of issues associated with key types of food and drink packaging, in order to shift the financial burden away from taxpayers, and towards producers, in line with principles of extended producer responsibility.
- A study for the OECD that identified a range of issues that e-commerce creates for EPR schemes and the possible solutions that may exist to address these problems.
Chris joined Eunomia in January 2009, following completion of PhD research into socio-economic constraints on the development of renewable energy in the UK. Much of this research focused on supply-side constraints facing perennial bioenergy feedstock crops. His work was critical of UK Government Bioenergy Policy, and challenged Government assumptions relating to future uptake of energy crops, and was referenced in a supporting study to the UK Government’s Gallagher Review of the indirect effects of biofuels production.
Prior to this, Chris undertook a Masters degree in environmental economics focused on the accuracy of ex ante regulatory cost estimates.