An ambitious new three-day online event organised by KTN and hosted by UK Circular Plastics Network is due to take place later this month.
Aimed at highlighting the latest research and technologies in plastics sustainability, the Global Research and Innovation in Plastics Sustainability (GRIPS) conference features a speaker line-up that includes some 150 experts from around the world.
The event will be held 16 – 19 March 2021 is expected to draw over 1,000 delegates from across all industries. Attendees will be able to learn about some of the world’s best initiatives and developments, all striving to make plastics and persistent polymers less likely to reach landfills, end up incinerated, or leak into the environment. Dr According to Sally Beken, Polymer Knowledge Transfer Manager at KTN, GRIPS 2021 will …’celebrate all the great work in plastics sustainability and to drive it forwards’.
“It will help with the commercialisation of new innovations and technological developments by connecting them with the people and organisations they need drawn from up and down the entire polymer and plastics supply chain,” she said.
To that end, the programme offers multiple talks running simultaneously to accommodate all the speakers withion the three-day time frame.
Attendees can look forward to keynote talks from Professor Richard Thompson, Professor Duncan Wingham, Libby Peake, Head of Resource Policy at Green Alliance, Helen Bird of WRAP and KTN’s CEO, Dr Alicia Greated. Professor Ed Kosior of Nextek will be dialling in from Australia and Marc A. Hillmyer McKnight of the University of Minnesota, will be speaking from the US. There is also an international reception hosted by the UK's Department of International Trade with speakers joining from Nigeria and India.
“The conference programme is still being finalised as more and more speakers, delegates and exhibitors sign up to showcase some of the world’s best plastics sustainability initiatives and developments, it’s safe to say GRIPS 2021 is shaping up to be a huge event,” added Sally Beken.
Day one of the event will include talks from Paul Davidson, UKRI’s plastics sustainability challenge director, a representative from the US Department of Energy, and David Rogers, Head of International Resource Management at WRAP, on global investment opportunities. There will be pitches from exciting start-ups with initiatives to reduce plastic waste, and focused discussions on bio-polymers, microfibres, and plastics in the textiles and fashion sector.
On day two Adela Putinelu, Sustainability Issues Executive at the British Plastics Federation, will look back at ten years of Operation Clean Sweep, while key discussions highlighting all the latest novel materials and sustainably polymer composite innovations take place. There will be talks on the sustainability of medical plastics from Professor Medhi Tavakoli of KTN, and a discussion exploring plastic usage in the construction industry from Katherine Adams, Technical Lead at the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products, Lynne Potter, Sustainability Manager at MACE Group, and Richard McKinglay from AXION. There will also be a heads-up session looking at how regulation will change in the future, and a showcase of all the latest innovations in capturing fugitive plastics.
Day three will feature innovative business models and ways to support consumer engagement to support plastics sustainability. Experts from the Universities of Manchester and Sheffield as well as Imperial College London will explore what we can learn from consumer behaviours that will lead to a more sustainable use of polymers in the future, and a panel of experts including Adam Read, External Affairs Director at Suez, and Professor John McGeehan from the University of Portsmouth, will debate the innovations that will make the biggest impacts to plastics sustainability.
The event is being supported by Innovate UK, EPSRC and UKRI.