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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S025200/1
Title: RE3 - Rethinking Resources and Recycling
Principal Investigator: Shaver, Professor MP
Other Investigators:
Turner, Professor NJ Sampson, Professor WW Mativenga, Professor PT
Sharmina, Professor M Hoolohan, Dr C Evans, Professor J
Garforth, Professor A Azapagic, Professor A Hardacre, Professor C
Browne, Dr A Boons, Professor F RAVEENDRAN NAIR, Professor R
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Argent Energy (UK) Limited AstraZeneca Axion Group (UK)
B&M Longworth (Edgworth) Ltd Centre for Process Innovation Limited Chatham House
Co-operative Group Limited Greater Manchester Combined Authority Plastics Europe
Samsung Electronics UK Ltd Tesco Unilever
Department: Mechanical Aerospace and Civil Eng
Organisation: University of Manchester, The
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 January 2019 Ends: 31 December 2020 Value (£): 826,551
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Chemicals Electronics
Energy Retail
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
29 Oct 2018 UKRI Creative Circular Plastic Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
As individuals, our daily routines rely on plastics in their many shapes and forms, whether as long lasting components of our homes and vehicles or as essential elements of important advances in medicine, water purification and infrastructure, or as packaging for cosmetics, food, drink, toiletries, cleaning products and healthcare products. These plastics are unrivalled materials: they are inexpensively synthesised, lightweight, recyclable and often deliver unmatchable performance. However, our love of plastics comes at a significant cost, as the environmental impact of these materials is massive, and growing. Genuinely sustainable plastics will need new forms of resource efficient materials, smart supply chains, and sustainable business practices, requiring holistic and integrated solutions.

This proposal brings together diverse groups from across The University of Manchester to tackle this grand challenge of plastic waste. We seek solutions to the challenge of plastics pollution through an integrated approach that explicitly couples Manchester's strength in sociotechnological understanding and influence to our industry-guided solutions across chemistry, safety, materials, engineering and social sciences. The goal is to create a concerted, focussed consortium of diverse individuals who will lead stakeholder conversations, pitch multi-disciplinary projects that build from our strengths, and incubate these projects into translatable solutions. Through these collaborative efforts we will develop 6-12 projects building from our diverse expertise in urban recycling, sustainable business models, invisible plastic waste, valorising waste plastic streams, and new degradable polymers, and through them aim to:

i) reduce the need for plastic by addressing demand,

ii) improve the materials used to deliver better performance and clean degradation,

iii) demonstrate new methods for recycling soft and mixed plastics/non-plastic films (currently very difficulty) and removal of micro plastics from source; and

iv) create smart circular economies that allow users to take ownership of and reduce plastic waste.

A multidisciplinary team of researchers at The University of Manchester will lead a portfolio of projects to tackle this grand challenge. Activities will be aligned with the first-of-its-kind Greater Manchester plan to drive down single-use plastics by 2020 and use the city-region as a living lab to innovate at speed and deploy solutions at scale.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.man.ac.uk