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Future of Packaging

Future of Packaging

Release Date: Each January

Learn the facts about plastic and develop a sustainable packaging strategy for your business

Over the last decade we have increased our knowledge of the detrimental environmental effects of plastic pollution. The UK government has now pledged to eliminate plastic waste by 2042 and industry urgently needs to look at the adoption of alternative packaging. The aim of this module is to demystify plastics and provide businesses with the tools to develop their own packaging strategies.


The course will consist of a series of lectures and guided learning focused on:

List of Units

The case for plastics

functionality and versatility.

Current plastic recycling and reuse strategies

limitations, barriers and opportunities.

Improving recycling strategies

infrastructure, policy, behaviour change, recyclability e.g. engineering plastics to retain desirable properties.

Drivers behind alternative packaging production

e.g. macro and micro plastic pollution, peak oil, GHG mitigation, economics.

Overview of plastic types

debunking plastic myths.

Bioplastics - definition and properties

biodegradable or not (certification standards and legislation); recyclable or not; the challenges of integrating certain bioplastics into current recycling systems.

Biodegradable packaging

current research challenges e.g. PLA food safety, barrier properties, and alternatives to bioplastics.

Emerging technologies

e.g. value-added bioplastics.

Lifespan of bioplastic vs conventional plastic

cradle to grave; bioplastic feedstocks and carbon capture and assimilation into bioplastic metabolites; end of life as measured by environmental LCA/ LCA boundaries.

Decision making framework

justifying a packaging strategy for your business.


Tutors Name
Dr Steve Chapman