University of Exeter - ExeMPLaR - Multidisciplinary Plastics Research Hub

ExeMPLaR Research Project - Funded from 1st Jan 2019 for 18 months the Exeter Multidisciplinary Plastics Research Hub (ExeMPLaR) is one of eight prestigious new research projects across the UK. The eight projects will see researchers investigating alternatives to fossil-based materials for plastics, as well as looking into the complex factors involved in the lifecycle of plastic materials, from consumers' and business' needs and behaviours, to how to use technology to reclaim or break down plastics.

ExeMPLaR will combine the expertise of academics from across the University who will also work alongside a large number of partners, including public bodies, businesses and the public sector. This requires a whole systems approach and a shift in mindset from a linear take-make-dispose to a circular economy model. It aims to develop regional circular plastics systems which optimise circular flows of plastics for the highest value and greatest potential for value creation and significant reduction of negative externalities. The underpinning logic is to draw on the wide expertise of Exeter researchers and their research networks to connect high quality academic research with key collaborative partners in an Exeter University Plastics Research hub - ExeMPLaR - using the SW UK region as a demonstrator. The network will become a key legacy that outlives ExemPLaR. The focal point is designed around the core requirements of a systems level approach. 

The objectives are to overcome a number of technical and system design challenges:

  • Establish a research hub and a regional network to build transformative circular economy approaches to tackling the challenges of plastics in society. 
  • Enhance understanding of the flows and impacts of plastic in a regional context, identifying the factors, barriers and enablers that affect current system performance. 
  • Develop the first-stage of a suite of system-level evaluation tools, integrating indicators for ecosystem services, human health/well-being and economic value into current Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tools to assess current impacts and evaluate system-oriented interventions. 
  • Perform and evaluate a minimum of three short demonstration projects to assess the potential to design, optimise and replicate regional circular system elements, configurations and arrangements that afford opportunities for circular value creation and the enablers and incentives required to support this.

ExeMPLaR Research Project - Funded from 1st Jan 2019 for 18 months the Exeter Multidisciplinary Plastics Research Hub (ExeMPLaR) is one of eight prestigious new research projects across the UK. The eight projects will see researchers investigating alternatives to fossil-based materials for plastics, as well as looking into the complex factors involved in the lifecycle of plastic materials, from consumers' and business' needs and behaviours, to how to use technology to reclaim or break down plastics.

ExeMPLaR will combine the expertise of academics from across the University who will also work alongside a large number of partners, including public bodies, businesses and the public sector. This requires a whole systems approach and a shift in mindset from a linear take-make-dispose to a circular economy model. It aims to develop regional circular plastics systems which optimise circular flows of plastics for the highest value and greatest potential for value creation and significant reduction of negative externalities. The underpinning logic is to draw on the wide expertise of Exeter researchers and their research networks to connect high quality academic research with key collaborative partners in an Exeter University Plastics Research hub - ExeMPLaR - using the SW UK region as a demonstrator. The network will become a key legacy that outlives ExemPLaR. The focal point is designed around the core requirements of a systems level approach. 

The objectives are to overcome a number of technical and system design challenges:

  • Establish a research hub and a regional network to build transformative circular economy approaches to tackling the challenges of plastics in society. 
  • Enhance understanding of the flows and impacts of plastic in a regional context, identifying the factors, barriers and enablers that affect current system performance. 
  • Develop the first-stage of a suite of system-level evaluation tools, integrating indicators for ecosystem services, human health/well-being and economic value into current Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tools to assess current impacts and evaluate system-oriented interventions. 
  • Perform and evaluate a minimum of three short demonstration projects to assess the potential to design, optimise and replicate regional circular system elements, configurations and arrangements that afford opportunities for circular value creation and the enablers and incentives required to support this.