Global Research and Innovation in Plastics Sustainability Returns for 2024

Global Research and Innovation in Plastics Sustainability Returns for 2024

Now in its fourth year, the Global Research and Innovation in Plastics Sustainability Conference 2024 (GRIPS 2024), founded by the UK Circular Plastics Network, is focused on bringing together companies and individuals to highlight the best innovations and business models to improve the sustainability of plastics. 

This year, Innovate UK is running the event in partnership with the British Plastics Federation (BPF). Taking place in Sheffield on 19 September, the one-day event is being hosted in conjunction with the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Sheffield, with support from the Worshipful Company of Horners.

This specialist conference will focus on the positives of plastics whilst ensuring they are less likely to reach landfill sites, be incinerated or end up in the environment.

In addition to a mini-exhibition, the event will feature three parallel conference streams comprising presentations and panel discussions covering:

  • Plastic packaging – including reuse
  • New recycling infrastructure – both mechanical and depolymerisation
  • The role of AI in plastics sustainability
  • Green chemistry for polymers of the future
  • Emerging business models
  • The role of additives in plastics sustainability
  • The impact of legislation
  • Mitigating the effect of plastic on our oceans
  • The Global Plastics Treaty

Keynote sessions will be delivered by the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures plastics sustainability experts: Professor Rachael Rothman and Dr Fanran Meng. Recent academic research they have published highlighted that switching away from plastic to alternate materials will, in most cases, increase carbon emissions and could therefore hasten climate change. This implies that improving the management of both in-use and used plastic is of paramount importance, which perfectly complements the core theme of the GRIPS 2024 conference.

BPF Director General Philip Law said:

Working with Innovate UK to deliver this key event is an honour. I would also like to thank Jane Williams and the Worshipful Company of Horners for the kind support made in memory of David Williams. GRIPS 2024 will be showcasing the best innovations from across industry and academia to further improve the sustainability of plastic – an essential material the world relies upon.

Professor Rachael Rothman, Co-Director of the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Sheffield said:

We are very excited to be hosting GRIPS 2024. Back in 2020 we hosted (online) the precursor to GRIPS, the Creative Circular Economy Approaches to Eliminate Plastic Waste conference. From that beginning, GRIPS has grown to be the UK conference for discussion on how to reduce plastic waste and move towards a more sustainable plastic future. At the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures we believe in the importance of quantifying sustainability and ensuring systems are designed for use, reuse, recycling and ultimate end-of-life. We are looking forward to welcoming everyone to Sheffield and to all the insightful discussions and collaborations that will result from GRIPS 2024.

Chair of the Polymer Committee and Court Assistant Ad-officium of the Worshipful Company of Horners Richard Brown said:

Due to a generous gift from Jane Williams in memory of her husband David Williams, past president of the BPF and past master of The Worshipful Company of Horners, the Horners are able to sponsor the GRIPS 2024 conference.  David was a great ambassador of the plastics industry and as such we believe that the GRIPS conference is an ideal platform in his memory that will support his passion for the industry. The Horners are honoured to be a part of such a prestigious event, enabled by the gift from Jane Williams, where academia and industry can come together over a single day to network and learn.

The conference is free to attend and takes place 19 September in Sheffield University’s building ‘The Wave’. It is also possible to register and view the event online.

For further details and to register visit:

Read more from the BPF here.

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