In an press release published on December 18, 2018, the University of Exeter announced receiving a £1 million award from UK Research and Innovation to create the Exeter Multidisciplinary Plastics Research Hub (ExeMPLaR). This is one of eight new research projects in the UK to investigate “alternatives to fossil-based materials for plastics, as well as look into the complex factors involved in the life cycle of plastic materials, from consumers’ and business’ needs and behaviors, to how to use technology to reclaim or break down plastics.” Researchers from across the university will work together with a number of stakeholders from public bodies, businesses, and the public sector. The Food Packaging Forum is an invited stakeholder to participate in the project.

The press release quotes Peter Hopkinson, a professor at the University of Exeter and the co-lead of ExeMPLaR: “This is about academics working hand in hand with public bodies and industry to find real, practical solutions to some of the current issues surrounding plastic use and pollution. He went on to say that “this is not about eliminating all plastics – some plastic is used in highly valuable applications which would be hard to replace. Our approach is to develop regional circular plastics systems in which we design out plastic waste at the outset and design the system to enable plastics to be re-used at their highest value for the longest period.”

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University of Exeter (December 18, 2018). ‘£1 million circular economy research hub at the University of Exeter to re-think plastics production and use.’