Roadmapping the UK’s Plastics Supply Chain to Help Improve Circularity

27th July 2020

Eunomia has produced a UK plastics roadmap, Future Opportunities and Needs in the UK plastics Supply Chain, for UK Research & Innovation. The roadmap identifies ways that can help the transition to a circular plastics economy in the UK.

This research was conducted under the Plastics Research and Innovation Fund which aims to explore novel ideas and innovations with the potential to make the plastics sector more circular, whilst also addressing the challenge of persistent plastic pollution.

An estimated 4.9 million tonnes of plastics are placed on the UK market each year, of which around 3.7 million tonnes become waste. Plastic pollution on our land and in our oceans is a growing problem, with plastic produced at an ever-increasing rate, and faster than society can manage it at end-of-life.

The focus of this work was to inform future public and private research and development (R&D) investment in the UK plastics sector. The research was guided by consultation with government bodies, industry, NGOs academics and other stakeholders with an understanding of the UK plastics sector.

The roadmap explores a range of plastics applications as well as microplastics, and provides strategic recommendations to UK plastics sector stakeholders that should be a focus for activity and investment, supporting the transition to a circular UK plastics economy. For each application, it presents recommendations for: exploratory research; infrastructure and equipment; knowledge exchange and training and; technological interventions for future research and development.

This report will contribute to the Fund’s goal to support the Government in its target of achieving zero avoidable plastic waste by the end of 2042, as stated in the 25 year Environment Plan.

Eunomia’s Head of Evaluation, Joe Hudson, said: “Our work to date on plastics meant we were able to deliver a really insightful view of the UK plastics market. Each plastic application has a unique life cycle and shortcomings to reaching circularity, which our expert team researched to create impactful and tailored recommendations for the roadmap.”

 

Image courtesy of mbeo via flikr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).