Plastics in the Environment
Plastics in the Environment is a special interest group that was established in April 2017 and consists of diverse researchers from across the University with wide-ranging interests in plastics in the environment and related issues.
May 2020: SIG members Judy Lee, Rosalind Malcolm and Kayleigh Wyles took part on a Q&A panel following a showing of the documentary: ‘The Story of Plastic’ (2020, Discovery network).
May 2020: Call for papers - guest editor on a Special Issue on Microplastics.
October 2019: Are global food packaging brands really committed to ditching single-use plastic? Academics at the University of Surrey investigate bold new food packaging pledges made by some of the world’s most prominent brands – and question whether these pledges will translate into measurable actions.
November 2018: A new report by Friends of the Earth has revealed that as much as 19,000 tonnes of microplastic pollution could be entering UK waterways every year from vehicle tyres.
August 2018: Study finds only one third of UK’s plastic food packaging is recyclable. The Local Government Association (LGA) has completed recent analysis which indicates that two-thirds of all plastic food container waste is still being incinerated or thrown into landfill.
June 2018: Science Minister announces £20m Plastics Research and Innovation Fund to be managed by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The new fund aims to explore new ideas and innovations that can encourage changes in the UK's plastics manufacturing and consumption patterns.
January 2018: All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the prevention of plastic waste established 'to raise issues relating to the impact of plastic waste on our environment and to provide a cross-party forum to work towards the minimisation of plastic waste’.
Abate, T., G., Borger, T., Aaensen, M., Falk-Andersson, J., Wyles, K. J., & Beaumont, N. (2020). Valuation of Marine Plastic Pollution in the European Arctic: Applying an Integrated Choice and Latent Variable Model to Contingent Valuation. Ecological Economics, 169, 106251.
Enfrin, M., Lee, J., Le-Clech, P., & Dumée, L. F. (2020). Kinetic and mechanistic aspects of ultrafiltration membrane fouling by nano-and microplastics. Journal of Membrane Science, 601, 117890.
Enfrin, M., Lee, J., Gibert, Y., Basheer, F., Kong, L., & Dumée, L. F. (2020). Release of hazardous nanoplastic contaminants due to microplastics fragmentation under shear stress forces. Journal of hazardous materials, 384, 121393.
Schofield, J., Wyles, K.J., Doherty, S., Jones, J., & Porter, A. (2020). Object narratives as a methodology for mitigating marine plastic pollution: a new multidisciplinary approach, and a case study from Galápagos. Antiquity, 94 (373), 228-244.
Barberá-Tomás, D., Castelló, I. & De Bakker, F., C. Zietsma. (2019) Emotion Symbolic Work in Cultural Entrepreneurship. In press at Academy of Management Journal, 62(6), 1789–1817.
Beaumont, N. J., Aaneson, M., Austen, M., Börger, T., Clark, J.R., Cole, M., Hooper, T., Lindeque, P.K., Pascoe, C., & Wyles, K. J. (2019). Global ecological, social and economic impacts of marine plastic. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 142, 189-195.
Castelló, I., Malcolm, R., Murphy, R., O'Meara, N., Peacock, M., Wyles, K. J. (2019) Recycle, Reuse, Renew: Food packaging pledges and promises in the fight against plastic pollution. Report, University of Surrey.
Enfrin, M., Dumée, L. F., & Lee, J. (2019). Nano/microplastics in water and wastewater treatment processes–Origin, impact and potential solutions, Water research, 161, 621.
Koelmans, B., Pahl, S., Backhaus, T., Bessa, F., van Calster, G., Contzen, N., ... & Kalcikova, G. (2019). A scientific perspective on microplastics in nature and society. SAPEA.
Malcolm, R. (2019). Life Cycle Thinking as a Legal Tool: A Codex Rerum. Law Env't & Dev. J., 15, 208.
Winker, P., Etter, M., Castello, I. (2019). Vicious and Virtuous Circles of Aspirational Talk: From Self-Persuasive to Agonistic CSR Rhetoric. Business & Society. In press.
Wyles, K. J., Pahl, S., Carroll, L., & Thompson, R. C. (2019). An Evaluation of the Fishing For Litter (FFL) Scheme in the UK in terms of Attitudes, Behavior, Barriers and Opportunities. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 144, 48-60.
Bond, T., Ferrandiz-Mas, V., Felipe-Sotelo, M., & van Sebille, E. (2018). The occurrence and degradation of aquatic plastic litter based on polymer physicochemical properties: a review. Critical reviews in environmental science and technology, 48(7-9), 685-722.
Castelló, I. (2017), Visionary but concrete plans. Harvard Deusto Business Review, 271.
Pahl, P., & Wyles, K. J. (2017). The human dimension: How social and behavioural research methods can help address microplastics in the environment. Analytical Methods, 9, 11404-1411.
Pahl, S., Wyles, K.J., & Thompson, R.C. (2017). Channelling passion for the ocean towards plastic pollution. Nature Human Behaviour, 1, 697-699.
Steenmans, K., Malcolm, R., & Marriott, J. (2017). Commodification of waste: legal and theoretical approaches to industrial symbiosis as part of a circular economy. University of Oslo Faculty of Law Research Paper, (2017-26).
Tonner, K., & Malcolm, R. (2017). How an EU lifespan guarantee model could be implemented across the European Union. European Parliament Report, JURI Committee of the European Parliament.
Wyles, K. J., Pahl, S., Holland, M., & Thompson, R. C. (2017). Can Beach Cleans Do More Than Clean-Up Litter? Comparing Beach Cleans to Other Coastal Activities. Environment & Behavior. 49, 509-535.
Anderson, A.G., Grose, J., Pahl, S., Thompson, R. C., & Wyles, K. J. (2016). Microplastics in personal care products: Exploring perceptions of environmentalists, beauticians and students. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 113, 454-460.
Castelló, I., Etter, M., & Aarup-Nielsen, F. (2016). Strategies of Legitimacy through Social Media: The Networked Strategy. Journal of Management Studies. 53(3) 402-432.
Castelló, I. (2016), Managing relationships in a digitalized world. Harvard Deusto Business Review, 260.
Ten Brink, P., Wyles, K. J., Pahl, S., Hong, S., Seager, J., Hidalgo-Ruz, V. (2016). Social economic aspects. In Kershaw, P.J (Ed.) Sources, fate and effects of microplastics in the marine environment: part two of a global assessment. GESAMP (IMO/FAO/UNESCO-IOC/UNIDO/WMO/IAEA/UN/UNEP/UNDP Joint Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Protection).
UNEP. (2016). Marine Plastic Debris and Microplastics: Global Lessons and Research to Inspire Action and Guide Policy Change. UN, Nairobi.
UNEP, G. (2016). Arendal. Marine Litter Vital Graphics. United Nations Environment Programme and GRID-Arendal. Nairobi and Arendal.
Wyles, K. J., Pahl, S., Thomas, K., & Thompson, R. C. (2016). Factors that can undermine the psychological benefits of coastal environments: Exploring the effect of tidal state, presence, and type of litter. Environment & Behavior, 48, 1095-1126.
Wyles, K. J., Hidalgo-Ruz, V., Pahl, S., & Anderson, A. (2015). Social aspects of microplastics in the marine environment. In Kershaw, P.J (Ed.) GESAMP reports & studies series: Sources, fate and effects of microplastics in the marine environment - a global assessment. GESAMP (IMO/FAO/UNESCO-IOC/UNIDO/WMO/IAEA/UN/UNEP/UNDP Joint Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Protection).
Malcolm, R. (2011). Ecodesign laws and the environmental impact of our consumption of products. Journal of environmental law, 23(3), 487-503.
Malcolm, R. (2011). Integrated product policy: products and their impact on energy. International Journal of Law in the Built Environment, 3(1), 48.
Malcolm, R., Castello, I. & Oguge, N. Wicked problem of Plastic Waste. Global Challenges Research Fund / AHRC. £60,000.
Jayawardhena, C. Evolving a circular plastics economy. Co-investigator on an EPSRC Research Grant. £1,100,000.
Wyles, K. & Gatersleben, B. Marine Litter Citizen Science Research Agenda - An Expert Perspective on Advancing the Citizen and the Science in Citizen Science. BBSRC Citizen Sci Exp Grant. £19,805.
Bond, T. Predicting the Polymer-specific Fate of Aquatic Plastic Litter. EPSRC New Investigator Award.
Malcolm, R. & Oguge, N. Global Engagement Network on Plastics Governance. Global Challenges Research Fund / EPSRC. £135,000.
Wyles, K., et al. Empowering society to combat marine litter through citizen science. Ocean LitterAcy (OLA). Global Challenges Research Fund. £138,998.
Malcolm, R., Castello, I., O’Meara, N. & Wyles, K. with RECOUP Ltd. Plastic waste - governance, business modelling and consumer behaviour. SME Innovation Voucher. £1,083.60.
Younis, H. (awardee), Malcolm, R. (sponsor). Regulatory instruments around single-use plastics. UG student bursary. Undergraduate Sustainability Research Opportunities Programme. £2,000.
Malcolm, R. Designing Law and Policy Towards Managing Plastics in a Circular Economy. Workshop funded by Universities of Surrey, Essex and School of Oriental and African Studies.
Beaumont, N., et al. Marine Plastic Pollution in the Arctic: origin, status, costs and incentives for Prevention. Forskerprosjekt – POLARPROG (Norwegian Fund), NOK9,972,000 (£750,000; £89k to personal research institute, PML; CI).
Austen, M., et al. New Plastics Economy. People’s Postcode Lottery Dreamfund. £100,000 (to personal research institute, PML; CI).
Meet the team
Head of group
Professor Richard Murphy
Professor of Life Cycle Assessment, Programme Director - CES Practitioner Doctorate in Sustainability, University Sustainability Research Theme Champion
Professor Rosalind Malcolm
Professor of Law, Director of Environmental Regulatory Research Group (ERRG)
Dr Noreen O'Meara
Associate Professor (Reader), Human Rights, European and Environmental Law. Co-director: Surrey Centre for International and Environmental Law (SCIEL).
Dr Peter Roth
Senior Lecturer in Applied Organic/Polymer Chemistry and School Postgraduate Research Director