Not so fantastic plastic

Single-Day-Plastic Litter by RealWorld Visuals

Single-Day-Plastic Litter by RealWorld Visuals (see here for more information on this visualisation)

The January talk will be given by Prof Andrea Russell, Professor of Physical Electrochemistry at the School of Chemistry, University of Southampton. Prof Russell will be talking about her research into the problems of plastics.

Poster for Andrea Russell

Poster for Andrea Russell

David Attenborough’s Blue Planet programme highlighted the problems with plastics in the oceans, but the problems with plastics in the environment have been known for quite some time.  Prof. Andrea Russell, collaborating with Prof. Richard Thompson of Plymouth University, was one of the authors on the paper that introduced the term microplastics in the scientific literature back in 2004 in a paper called “Lost at Sea, Where is all the Plastic”.

In this talk we’ll have look at the problem with plastics.  The more common plastics in use will be discussed. Then we’ll consider the role of recycling and composting and explore how microplastic fragments wind up in the natural environment.  We’ll also consider where plastics are necessary to modern life and why total elimination of their use is probably not the answer to the plastics problem.

If you are planning on coming to the talk and have a compost bin, you are encouraged to select one “compostable” plastic item, to put this in your compost bin in early December, and then to extract it and bring it along to the talk.