Plastic Sustainability Challenges

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

99 Downloads (Pure)


The use of man-made (synthetic) plastics began in the early 20th Century and were specifically developed as cheap alternatives to expensive and/or resource restricted materials. Many of the most common polymers used today were developed by the 1950s’s, by which time they had become aggressively marketed as cheap and disposable materials. This attitude to plastics persists to the current day, and is arguably the origin of the predominant linear economy of their use.
However, these attitudes have ultimately led to the current environmental crisis associated with mismanaged plastics. To prevent further environmental impacts by moving to a position of sustainability requires many challenges to be overcome. These challenges can broadly be grouped together as technical, societal, legal, political and economic factors. This papers provides a brief overview of some of those factors and potential solutions to achieving plastics sustainability in the context of their historic use.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCreative Circular Economy Approaches to Eliminate Plastic Waste
Subtitle of host publicationPlastics Research and Innovation Fund Conference
PublisherUK Circular Plastics Network
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2020
EventPlastics Research Innovation Fund Conference: Creative Circular Economy Approaches to Eliminate Plastics Waste - Online, Sheffield, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 Jun 20209 Jun 2020


ConferencePlastics Research Innovation Fund Conference
Abbreviated titlePRIF Conference 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • plastics
  • circular economy


Dive into the research topics of 'Plastic Sustainability Challenges'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this