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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S029427/1
Title: Predicting the Polymer-specific Fate of Aquatic Plastic Litter
Principal Investigator: Bond, Dr T
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Aquapak Polymers Limited NEXTEK Ltd Polymateria
Thames Water Plc
Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering
Organisation: University of Surrey
Scheme: New Investigator Award
Starts: 01 July 2019 Ends: 30 June 2021 Value (£): 260,881
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Pollution Waste Management
Waste Minimisation Water Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Environment Water
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
06 Feb 2019 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 6 and 7 February 2019 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The amount of plastic litter in in the environment is growing rapidly. Its presence poses a severe threat to marine and freshwater life. However, at the heart of our knowledge of plastic litter lies a black hole. The location of 99% or more of the plastic litter thought to be in the ocean is unknown. This makes it difficult to propose effective solutions for the problems associated with plastic litter. The main goal of this project is to predict what happens to different types of plastic litter in the environment. To achieve this, the degradation of commonly used plastics will be monitored under controlled laboratory conditions. Experimental methods to produce tiny fragments of plastics made from different polymers will be developed. These will be used to simulate their behaviour in the environment. For example, how quickly they fragment and sink under different conditions and how easily they transfer from water to river sediments. For comparison, plastics which are thought to degrade in a more environmentally-sustainable fashion will also be monitored. Results from these tests will be used to predict the fate of different types of plastics in the environment. They will also allow an assessment of the contribution that promoting sustainable types of plastics can make to solving the problem of plastic litter in the environment.
Key Findings
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Summary
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.surrey.ac.uk