New Plastic Economy initiative

People’s Postcode Lottery supports New Plastics Economy initiative with PML and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation


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. 

The news of the PPL award to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and PML follows a ground-breaking study released last week by the Foundation, which outlined today's plastics economy and its challenges, whilst also providing a vision for a new future system in which plastics never become waste.

Plastics devalue the marine environment, whether it’s the litter that we see on the beach or the tiny fragments (microplastics) the plastic litter breaks down to, polluting our ocean and endangering its wildlife. Plastic litter poses many risks to marine animals but especially through plankton, the tiny creatures underpinning the whole marine food chain. These minute animals ingest plastic which can then be accumulated up through the chain as the plankton is eaten by larger animals and they in turn are consumed by others, eventually reaching humans through the seafood we eat.

The New Plastics Economy initiative aims to help us understand the consequences of plastics entering the seas, looking at the system as a whole and mapping out a clear path forward for tackling the issue at its root cause. PML will bring to the initiative deep scientific expertise on the impact of plastics in the environment, particularly in the area of microplastics and how these enter the food chain and disrupt natural systems. PML will also bring capability to the initiative to analyse the social and economic implications of changes in the marine environment caused by ocean plastics.

PML Head of Science Professor Melanie Austen who attended the gala event commented:  “A huge thank you to the People’s Postcode Lottery Fund for supporting this important project which will help us to understand the consequences of plastics entering the seas, for the environment, the ecology and, importantly, for us. I am excited to work with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to create and develop solutions that will help to restore our marine ecosystems, increasing their resilience into the future.”

Image above right: From left, Dame Ellen MacArthur, PML's Professor Melanie Austen, and Andrew Morlet.

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