Challenges of environmental protection and sustainability are proving to be more potent in everyday life and in every aspect of materials usage. Issues like climate change and ocean health are capturing headlines across the globe and with this, the materials industry has been put in the spotlight.
On Wednesday 22 February, industry experts and academics gathered at the Institute’s 297 Road office to explore the role of science and technology in preserving and improving the natural environment.
The highly successful Materials Protecting the Environment full-day event was part of the Materials Protecting Society Seminar Series organised by IOM3 and endorsed by the Sustainable Development Group.
Keynote Tom Heap, from BBC’s Country file and Radio 4’s Costing the Earth, opened the event. His talk Back to the Trees: The New Age of Wood looked closely at the timber industry and developments in wood technology. Heap explained that the UK’s forest yield was in a position of slow growth and noted wood’s promise as a natural alternative to plastic.
Many of the presentations focussed on ocean health, plastic waste and practical solutions in the UK and the developing world.
Professor Martin Charter, Director of The Centre for Sustainable Designer at the University for the Creative Arts, shared his research on circular economy innovation, commenting on the UK government’s 25-year plan to improve the environment and China’s decision to ban imports of foreign recyclable material.
Helen Jordan from the British Plastics Federation, spoke about their work in finding solutions to the marine litter problem. Jordan stated, ‘behavioural change towards plastic, eco-design, collection and reuse are all crucial in the reduction of waste.’
Ed Kosior, Managing Director of Nextek, who presented at the event said, ‘We must work with high leakage countries (China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Sri Lanka) to appropriately manage the amount of plastic waste that is produced.’
‘Another solution is to increase the value of plastic in order to incentivize plastics collection in countries where formal recycling systems are absent and replaced by informal systems, like for example waste picking,’ said Kosior.
Chairman Louis Brimacombe brought the final panel debate of the day on the circular economy to a close. Delegates then enjoyed a networking and drinks reception.
Materials Protecting Society Seminar Series
Materials Protecting People will be the next event in the Materials Protecting Society Seminar Series. This event will be held in November 2018. More information will be made available soon.
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