Northern Ireland

Queen's University Belfast gets £1m to research plastic waste

Mallard duck swims amongst plastic waste Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Plastic waste is causing pollution problems across the world

Queen's University Belfast has been awarded £1 million to fund research aimed at tackling problems caused by plastic waste.

The project will look at "creating a sustainable plastics circular economy in the UK" to keep plastic in use for as long as possible.

It is being led by Prof David Rooney, director of the Research Centre in Sustainable Energy at the university.

Work is due to begin in early 2019.

Eleven academics, with expertise in areas including politics, engineering, psychology and architecture, will work on the project.

The project will examine three areas:

  • consumer behaviour and attitudes towards plastic use and plastic waste;
  • the current industry supply chain so that hotspots can be identified and managed;
  • working with industry to design and prototype building products that use significant quantities of recycled plastic waste.

"The outcome of the research carried out here at Queen's is to create a sustainable and resilient plastics circular economy that will change how we deal with plastic waste, with the ultimate goal of creating a sustainable environment for future generations," Prof Rooney said.

Queen's is one of eight universities that has been awarded a share of the £8m overall grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The announcement was made by Science Minister Chris Skidmore.

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