PhD position – Join the team!

We have a funded PhD position available in the SMI Hub starting in January or September 2022 tackling the challenges in plastics sustainability and circularity. This PhD position extends our expertise on small molecule catalysis (with polymeric frustrated Lewis pairs) and ring-opening polymerisation (especially lactones and their mimics) to develop systems that have triggered degradationContinue reading “PhD position – Join the team!”

Cyclic Ether Triggers for Polymeric Frustrated Lewis Pair Gels

Congrats to Utku, Tom and Meng for their new paper in JACS! This latest instalment of the poly(FLP) chronicles reports the simple synthesis of a tuneable, highly Lewis acidic copolymer and its ability to ring-open cyclic ether substrates when paired with a Lewis basic, phosphine copolymer. Ring-opening of the cyclic ether substrates leads to polymerContinue reading “Cyclic Ether Triggers for Polymeric Frustrated Lewis Pair Gels”

Alicyclic Polyesters from a Bicyclic 1,3-dioxane-4-one

Congrats to Yuechao, Theona and Mitch on their new Polymer Chemistry paper! This work builds on the group’s previous report on polymerisation of DOX monomers, extending it to the incorporation of alicyclic ring connectivity through ring-opening of a bicyclic monomer- cPeDOX. Polymerisation to the desired poly(cPeDOX) can be achieved using diethyl zinc, reaching conversions ofContinue reading “Alicyclic Polyesters from a Bicyclic 1,3-dioxane-4-one”

Coca-Cola and Pepsi falling short on plastic pollution

A report released today by Tearfund revealed the failure of Coca-Cola and Pepsi, two of the world’s big plastic polluters, to provide sufficient pledges on addressing the plastic waste problem – particularly in developing countries. Previous reports highlighted the scale of the problem, with the two giants as well as Nestle and Unilever responsible forContinue reading “Coca-Cola and Pepsi falling short on plastic pollution”

Can we social distance from single- use plastics?

As coronavirus bears down on society, the use of single-use plastics has stepped up. Panic buying in the wake of the virus means demand for hand sanitiser, antibacterial wipes and much more besides (toilet roll) has rocketed. Although the plastic revolution since Blue Planet 2 has put emphasis on reuse and recycling, the threat ofContinue reading “Can we social distance from single- use plastics?”

UK to Encourage Recycled Content Increase

It was great to see the UK government show ambition towards reducing our plastic waste challenges in their recent budget announcement. From 2022, a levy will be placed on firms that do not have at least 30% recycled content in their packaging, which is predicted to increase the use of recycled plastic materials by upContinue reading “UK to Encourage Recycled Content Increase”

The Challenges of Ending Plastic Waste

While we normally try and discourage science chat in our group pub trips, this was an exception. In the first RE3 public engagement event of 2020, Mike represented the GML and Henry Royce Institute as one of a team of experts discussing the challenges of ending our plastic waste problem in the UK. Mark MiodownikContinue reading “The Challenges of Ending Plastic Waste”

Do biodegradables have their PLAce?

A recent BBC article discussed the merits of both biodegradable and compostable plastics in addressing our throwaway culture. Both the UK and Canada are set to ban single-use plastics in the next two years and alternatives that will not accumulate in landfill or the environment need to be found and established, fast. With our existingContinue reading “Do biodegradables have their PLAce?”

Chemical recycling – all its cracked up to be?

Over 50% of plastic produced each year is discarded after a single-use, contributing to the never ending stream of plastic waste both in the UK and internationally. While plastic remains the best material for the job in a lot of cases, we need to make smart choices with how this is reused, recycled or biodegraded.Continue reading “Chemical recycling – all its cracked up to be?”