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BIO-PLASTIC-RISK: Biodegradable Bioplastics - Assessing Environmental Risk

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Active project

Project start: November 2020  |  Project end: November 2024
Funder: NERC
Principal Investigator: Professor Pennie Lindeque
Other participants from PML: Dr Matt Cole, Dr Rachel Coppock, Dr Karen Tait

Biodegradable bioplastics (BBPs) offer promising solutions to the global plastic pollution challenge. However, our understanding of their fate in the natural environment and potential environmental effects is limited. The Bio-Risk Plastic Project brings together experts from various fields to comprehensively investigate BBPs.

The Bio-Risk Plastic Project is a 4-year research initiative led by the University of Plymouth,  in collaboration with PML, the University of Bath and  Lenzing AG. The project aims to address critical knowledge gaps concerning the fate and impact of BBPs in the environment.

The researchers will characterise BBPs and assess their deterioration under different environmental conditions. They will also study BBP accumulation pathways, direct toxicity on organisms, and indirect impacts on ecological processes. By gathering empirical data, the project aims to conduct risk assessments to establish safe exposure levels for BBPs and associated chemicals.


The Bio-Risk Plastic project holds significant implications for sustainable development and the circular economy, as it will guide the appropriate use and waste management of BBPs. The research findings will inform policy responses and commercial practices related to plastic pollution. The project's results will also contribute to behaviour change initiatives and public perceptions regarding packaging choices and disposal.

The project will provide essential and novel information on the environmental fate, impacts, and risks associated with BBPs, guiding future developments in this area. The dissemination of findings through various channels will ensure that stakeholders, policymakers, and the general public can make informed decisions and take necessary actions to address the plastic pollution challenge effectively.