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Cross-sector collaboration, one of the keys to achieve a vision for Zero Plastic Waste

Cross-sector collaboration, one of the keys to achieve a vision for Zero Plastic Waste

14th June 2018

On Monday 11th of June UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) and Policy Connect welcomed almost 100 people into the House of Commons’ Churchill Room for the launch of their joint project: A vision for Zero Plastic Waste, which over the course of the next few months will explore how to achieve this vision and, crucially, how the UK can become a global leader on the issue.

Kicking off at 7pm and chaired by scientist, journalist and author Vivienne Parry OBE, the event had attendees hearing a variety of strictly 2-minute long speeches from 11 remarkable people: Lord Deben and MPs Geraint DaviesAlistair Carmichael and Barry Sheerman presented their insights and spoke about their concerns as parliamentarians and policymakers, while Professors Wouter PoortingaCharlotte Williams and Richard Thompson presented their work on consumer behaviour and materials research and impact, and Dr Rhoda Trimingham offered a systemic approach from the design research point of view. The resource efficiency, waste industry and consumer brand perspectives were represented by Wrap’s Peter Maddox, Viridor’s Marcus Thomas and Nestle’s Andrew Griffiths respectively.

In spite of the speaker’s varied backgrounds, or more likely because of it, the call for “collective collaboration” and “collaborative action” among sectors as powerful enablers of a vision for Zero Plastic Waste came across as one strong message that was repeated over and over again both in the speeches and over the lively Q&A and networking sessions that followed.  

The need to think about the issue of plastic and the potential solutions to it as part of a broader system, as well as the urge to develop and establish common standards were also strong points raised by the speakers and the audience, as well as the call to stop seeing plastic as waste and start looking at it as the valuable resource it is in economic, material and environmental terms.

Many more crucial issues were raised during the night, and it is to be expected that many more will come up throughout the upcoming series of parliamentarian events and will feed into the final report UKRI and Policy Connect will publish in the winter: luckily, the Zero Plastic Waste project launch was just the first round of a long, necessary and collective conversation.


Zero Plastic Waste Project Launch
Speakers answer attendees' questions