Policy Commission: A Future for Sustainable Plastics

The Birmingham Plastics Network Policy Commission has brought together voices from across the plastics landscape to develop a set of well informed, evidence-based, policy recommendations which will promote a sustainable future for plastics in the UK, enhancing the positive contributions that plastics make to our lives whilst minimising the negative impacts across their life cycle.

A call for systematic change

We have engaged with the plastics waste problem holistically, comprehensively, considering economic, environmental, social and ecological impacts, developing comprehensive and evidence-based recommendations for an issue which has seen the same low-impact solutions presented for decades.

What is a Policy Commission?

A Policy Commission is a tried and tested method to achieving systemic change within and beyond Government, and the University of Birmingham has a track record of delivering them successfully.

Our Recommendations

Our recommendations include revalorising plastic ‘waste’ to support green growth and incentivise the emergence of next generation plastics production and recycling technologies; encouraging best practices in public sector procurement, including protocols on plastics life cycle assessments; and establishing a national sustainable plastics innovation research centre to drive innovation and encourage long-term, ambitious thinking. Watch our video to hear them all.

Baroness Meacher talks about the aims of the The Birmingham Plastics Network Policy Commission (Video transcript)

Read the Policy Commission: A Future for Sustainable Plastics

Chaired by Baroness Meacher, Crossbench Peer for the House of Lords, our Commissioners are experts in plastics for their relevant sector. Their broad expertise and insights result in thoughtful, evidence-based recommendations to government.

Download the full Policy Commission report (22.01 Mb)

The Team

We are privileged to have Baroness Meacher, Crossbench Peer for the House of Lords, as the Chair for this Commission. Baroness Meacher is passionate about the impacts of plastics in society and advocates strongly for the need for new and improved interventions in this space. 

We are also grateful to work with a range of Commissioners who are experts in plastics for their relevant sector and provide us with a broad range of expertise to ensure that the Commission covers the appropriate breadth and depth required to recommend thoughtful, evidence-based policy interventions to government.

See a full list of Commissioners below:

  • Baroness Meacher, Chair
  • Dr Sally Beken, Founder and Lead at UK Circular Plastics Network
  • Professor Andrew Dove, Sustainable Polymer Chemist and Co-Lead at Birmingham Plastics Network, University of Birmingham
  • Simon Ellin, Previous CEO of the Recycling Association
  • Professor Fern Elsdon-Baker, Director of the Research Institute for STEMM in Culture and Society, and Co-Lead at Birmingham Plastics Network, University of Birmingham
  • Judit Guerra-Falcon, Technical Affairs and Circular Economy Manager, Plastics Europe
  • Professor Stefan Krause, Professor of Ecohydrology and Biogeochemistry, and member of the Birmingham Plastics Network, University of Birmingham
  • Keith James, Head of Policy & Insights at WRAP
  • Professor Richard Lampitt, Professor at National Oceanography Centre, Biogeochemist
  • Brian Lodge, Director of Packaging at British Plastics Federation
  • Professor John McGeehan, Independent Consultant for plastics recycling, upcycling, and redesign
  • Asim Shah, Managing Director at S2C: Supply Chain Sustainability Consulting
  • Professor Ian Thomson, Professor of Accounting and Sustainability, University of Dundee, and member of the Birmingham Plastics Network

Watch our video for an insight into the Policy Commission process.

Our Commissioners introduce the Policy Commission from the Birmingham Plastics Network

What's next for the Commission?

The Commission has launched its Policy Commission Report in the House of Commons, and we are now working with industry, government, NGO and academic stakeholders to work towards implementing our recommendations.

If you have any questions about the Policy Commission, or would like to get involved with the realisation of our recommendations, please get in touch with plasticsnetwork@contacts.bham.ac.uk, we would be pleased to hear from you.

Read our Call to Action Report, a catalyst for the development of our Commission activity and our report 'A Sustainable Future for Plastics: UK Public and Political Attitudes'.