On February 25, 2019 the Exeter Multidisciplinary Plastics Research Hub (EXeMPlaR) held its project launch and kick-off meeting. Project partners, as well as project stakeholders (including FPF), gathered at the Eden Project in Cornwall, UK, to learn more about the project’s goals, and contribute insights and ideas on how to tackle plastics in the circular economy (FPF reported).

Project leader Peter Hopkinson, Centre for Circular Economy at the University of Exeter, introduced the EXeMPlaR aims: bringing together all relevant stakeholders from business, policy, community, civil society, and media; understanding the enablers and barriers for the circular economy in Southwest England; and creating regional jobs and innovation. The project is funded by a grant from the UK Research Council and ends mid-2020. It will utilize scientific understanding to enable policy action. First efforts will address food-grade PET recycling, zero-plastics initiatives and testing novel bio-based and biodegradable plastics for toxicity.

During the project kick-off, participants were asked what words describe their feelings about plastics: “useful”, “complex”, “toxic”, “cheap” and “convenient” were most frequent answers. When asked about what is needed to create a new regional plastics system, participants most often responded with “communication”, “infrastructure”, “collaboration” and “data”. Slides showed during presentations can be viewed here.

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Mentimeter word cloud (25 February 2019). “What is needed to create a new regional plastics system?

Mentimeter word cloud (25 February 2019). “What two words describe your feelings about plastics?

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (2019). Details of Grant: Exeter Multidisciplinary Plastics Research hub: EXeMPLaR.

University of Exeter, Centre for Circular Economy (2019). UKRI EXeMPLaR project description.