We use plastic in almost every area of our lives – as packaging, in electronics, clothing and building materials. Plastic is inexpensive and easy to make. It’s unmatched in its cost-effective durability and resistance to degradation.
But this attractive durability has created a global plastic crisis. Some plastics take more than 400 years to break down, and around 11 million metric tons of plastic ends up in our oceans every year. Half of all plastic becomes waste within a year of being made, yet most isn’t recycled. Our planet is suffocating in plastic. We need radical action to halt this trend and limit the damaging consequences of plastic pollution on our health and the environment.
Something has to be done. That’s where Revolution Plastics comes in.
We’ve got to build a world that’s more sustainable. And find solutions to the world's plastic problem.
We’re assembling teams of scientists, business-leaders, campaigners and citizens who share our ambition to transform the way we make, use and dispose of this polluting material.
Our revolution will ensure the elimination of damaging environmental and health impacts arising from plastics, through:
- Innovative technology that transforms methods of plastic production, use and disposal.
- An inclusive new plastics economy based on circular principles.
- Informed citizens so people make better choices about using and disposing of plastic.
- New governance approaches that incentivise sustainable plastic production, use and disposal.
- Partnerships with industry and policy makers to inspire sustainability initiatives and action
All aspects of society, the economy and politics need to adapt to achieve sustainability. Revolution Plastics therefore spans all disciplines.
We’re working across our faculties and collaborating with researchers around the globe — leading projects in areas such as environmental technology, molecular biophysics, advanced materials and environmental monitoring.
We’re already making progress. We've looked at how food and drink suppliers develop packaging. Studied how microplastics affect our oceans, economy and the air we breathe. And we’re aiming to develop a sustainable fashion and textiles social enterprise. Learn more about our plastics research:
Learn more about our collaborative project to help reduce plastic waste in low and middle income countries
Dr Fay Couceiro's research looks at the widespread presence of microplastics and how they might impact our health
PhD student Serena Cunsolo takes us on a personal journey through her research into plastic pollution in the ocean
Revolution Plastics builds on the momentum of our globally-acclaimed plastics research in developing a plastic-dissolving enzyme that can digest some of the most polluting plastics.
This research made national and international news, and won Research Project of the Year 2019. Our plastics research is supported by our Centre for Enzyme Innovation, which works with industry partners to advance the circular recycling of plastics.
We've signed up to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. We're a member of their Network and the University of Portsmouth is profiled in their Higher Education Network of Universities. We were also invited to join the UN Global Partnership on Marine Litter.
World leading research and practice doesn’t happen in isolation. That’s why we're working with partners in business, government, the not-for-profit sector and academia around the world to understand the impact of plastic on our environment and develop solutions to reduce it. And we’re looking for more partners to join us.
If you share our ambition for a plastic revolution, please join us. We can partner with you on research projects, funding bids and commercial product innovation. You can also commission us to undertake research on your behalf.
We’re putting our research into practice.
Together we want to transform Portsmouth into a global showcase for how to achieve a sustainable plastics future.
The city is home to an increasing number of organisations and groups advocating urban sustainability, ocean conservation and plastic waste reduction.
Our links to local organisations include:
- Jetsam - a plastic-tracking app co-developed by one of our graduates
- The Big Microplastics Survey - a project run in collaboration with Just One Ocean
- See Bin Sea Change - a programme which raised awareness of plastic pollution
- Portsmouth Climate Action Board - chaired by Professor Steve Fletcher
We want to work with more local organisations and are planning on hosting events, talks, surveys and other activities so you can get involved in the plastic revolution too.
If you’re part of a local organisation tackling the plastic problem and you want to collaborate with us, please get in touch.
Watch our community film to discover how we're working with our local community to explore how the plastic pollution affects Portsmouth.
Professor Steve Fletcher, Director of the Sustainability and the Environment explains Revolution Plastics and how the community can get involved.