New Plastics Economy


Plastics and plastic packaging are fundamental to industry and everyday life. They deliver many benefits, yet have a number of significant drawbacks. Most plastic packaging is used only once; 95% of the value of plastic packaging material, worth $80-120 billion annually, is lost to the economy. Plastic packaging also generates costs to society and to the environment, valued conservatively by UNEP at $40 billion. Given the projected growth in consumption, in a business-as-usual scenario, by 2050 the ocean could contain more plastics than fish (by weight), and the entire plastics industry could consume 20% of total oil production, and 15% of the annual carbon budget.

The New Plastics Economy initiative is an ambitious three-year mobilisation effort to build momentum towards a plastics system that works. Applying the principles of the circular economy, the initiative brings together key stakeholders to re-think and re-design the future of plastics, starting with packaging. 

The initiative, which is led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with a broad group of leading companies, cities, philanthropists, policymakers, academics, students, NGOs, and citizens, focuses on five interlinked and mutually reinforcing building blocks which can be found on the main project website here.

Funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, PML leads an 18 month project to provide an initial evidence base – closing critical knowledge gaps by building an economic and scientific evidence base from which to draw insights.
 
PML is undertaking research to understand and assess the impact of plastics in the marine environment on the UK society and economy.  PML will also identify a prioritized list of knowledge gaps to create an action plan and partnerships that would lead to a step change in understanding social and economic impacts of plastics in the marine environment in the UK and globally.

This project has been completed


Key information

Funder: People's Postcode Lottery

Project start date: March 2016

Project end date: September 2017

View the project website
Project logo

Share this page

 

Contact

Professor Melanie Austen
Head of Science - Sea and Society

Other participants

Christine Pascoe, Dr James Clark, Dr Tara Hooper

You may be interested in...

News

PML contributes to Science in Parliament

Last year, PML scientist Dr Pennie Lindeque gave a presentation to the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee at Westminster, contributing expert knowledge to the meeting “What are we going to do about plastics?”.

News

What are we going to do about plastics? PML science in Parliament

Today PML scientist Dr Pennie Lindeque is giving evidence at the Houses of Parliament, Westminster to the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee.

News

People’s Postcode Lottery supports New Plastics Economy initiative with PML a

PML is delighted to announce a new partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation on the New Plastics Economy initiative, which was announced last night as a winner of the People's Postcode Lottery (PPL) £500,000 Dream Fund at the gala event in Edinburgh.