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Circular Economy project 'ACCEPT' aims to tackle plastic waste

A new £1 million project to address the problem of plastic waste was launched at Queen’s University Belfast on Monday 10 June.

Advancing Creative Circular Economies for Plastics via Technological-Social Transitions (ACCEPT Transitions), aims to find ways to turn discarded plastic material that would otherwise be wasted into a resource, in keeping with the idea of the ‘circular economy’.

The project is being led by Professor David Rooney, Director of the Research Centre in Sustainable Energy at Queen’s. The team comprises academics from across the University, with expertise in a wide range of areas including politics, engineering, psychology and architecture.

The project will tackle three elements: firstly, understanding consumer behaviour and attitudes towards plastic use and plastic waste; secondly, assessing the current industry supply chain so that hotspots can be identified and managed; and thirdly, working with industry to design and prototype building products that use significant quantities of recycled plastic waste.

An attentive audience at the launch event in Riddel Hall heard fromresearchers, policy makers, and some young people from Annahilt Primary School, who had won a school competition for their project on tackling plastic waste in schools.

This research could complement the work of another team from Queen’s, based in the Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS), who are to investigate the damage that nano plastics and microplastics can have on the human body.

Find out more about the ACCEPT project here.