Sustainable Plastics Live/GRIPS 2023 | Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, UK | 10-11 May 2023
GRIPS Conference 2023

Global Research and Innovation in Plastics Sustainability is a live in-person conference, offering 3x separate conference streams, all packed with thought leadership and educational talks across a plethora of industry sectors that use plastics and polymers in the mainstream of their business.

What is involved?

Bringing together companies and individuals to highlight the best of the UK and select international activities will lead to plastics being less likely to reach landfills, end up incinerated, or become fugitive in the environment. We're delighted to invite you to GRIPS 2023 conference, which will again showcase Research and innovation from both the academic and industrial community that make polymers more sustainable. The event will provide a platform to help develop the commercial success of these developments and build links within the polymer/plastics supply chain to strengthen the offer to the UK and wider international actors in application sectors such as plastic packaging/FMCG, textiles, construction; legislation; agriculture; healthcare; net zero; marine plastics; chemical recycling’ sustainable design; innovation opportunities in global markets; plastic packaging; and many more. With the forthcoming Plastics Packaging Tax, extended producer responsibility (EPR) and deposit return schemes being on the near horizon, the adoption at scale of the innovations that will have an impact in the UK and worldwide are of great importance.

Offering a variety of keynotes, panel discussions and topic-specific Roundtable Discussion Sessions, designed to provide the best value and opportunity for learning. This unique format allows you to choose the most relevant topics, enabling you to sit next to your peers and topic experts to share challenges, collaboratively develop solutions and have your questions answered first-hand. Join us and see what the future for plastics and polymers may hold!

Next year’s conference streams are FREE TO ATTEND and we expect registrations to book up quickly, so please register today to ensure you secure your place at this most respected event. All conference delegates have access to all streams across the venue and have the chance to visit our exhibitors, plus engage in those networking opportunities!

Day One: Wednesday 10th May

09:30OPENING PLENARY - The UK's position within the world view of plastics;
hosted by David Shukman, speaker, writer, consultant - BBC Chief Science
Editor and environmental journalist.
The UK has been world-leading in sustainable innovation for plastics and is
implementing legislation to make plastics more circular, but are we in danger
of diverging from the world view or are we still leading the way?

Host: David Shukman, Science correspondent
Prof. Michael Shaver, University of Manchester
Libby Peake, Green Alliance
Prof. Margaret Bates, OPRL
11:30Chairs: Rachel Gray, WRAP and Sara Banning, Enabling Research, Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging (SSPP) Challenge

Plastics sustainability: myth busting and the
human factor

This session will cover what UK academics, and
other stakeholders, are discovering about what people really think, and do, with regards to their plastic packaging and the implications for policy and packaging design.
Chair: Paul Davidson, Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging (SSPP) Challenge Director

Pushing the boundaries: game changing innovation, UKRI

From edible film to AI-powered sorting, and from large scale reuse and refill to the latest
developments in chemical recycling, find out more about how UKRI's Smart Sustainable Plastic
Packaging Challenge driving Innovation.
Chair: Matt Chapman, Knowledge Transfer
Manager, Innovate UK KTN

Sustainable Plastics in healthcare

There is a drive for more sustainable use of plastics in the healthcare sector - from PPE, blister packs through to metered dose inhalers and to end of life waste treatment. This session will showcase some current innovations.
13:00Chair: Mike Moseley, Knowledge Transfer
Manager, Innovate UK KTN

Down cycling: is it a bad thing?

Construction is the second largest sector user of plastics after packaging. Product lifetimes and polymers differ to those for FMCG. This session showcases some innovations in building products that utilise end of waste from packaging and the consideration of end of life building products.
Chair: Geraldine Mateu, SSPP Challenge
Innovation Lead

Films & Flexibles: replace, recycle, reformulate

Films and flexibles continue to be seen as a particular challenge in the drive to reduce plastic packaging waste and increase recycling. This session explores the cutting edge innovations that could change the future for this important packaging format.
Chair: watch this space

Microplastics: scale and detection

Microplastics are everywhere, land, sea and air. This session will look at some of the latest research studies highlighting the scale of the problem including microplastics in human tissues. We will also hear about standards for detecting microplastics.
14:30Chair: Steve Morris, Knowledge Transfer
Manager, Textiles, Innovate UK KTN

The road to textiles sustainability

More than 50% of fabrics are fossil polymer based. This session will showcase innovations in sorting and collection to allow for high quality recyclate.
Chair: Gavin Lewis, SSPP Challenge Innovation

Tracking and tracing - the importance of data in making packaging more sustainable

Innovation in low cost, high accuracy identification, sorting and tracking of plastic packaging is set to overcome one of the key barriers to increased plastics recycling and reuse.
Chair: Sally Beken, UKCPN Founder, Innovate UK

Infrastructure and plastic material flow: the future

This session begins to shed some light on large scale geographical polymer material flow and novel approaches to enable manufacturers and users alike to make decisions on future materials.
16:00Chair: Richard Cooper, Knowledge Transfer Manager, Innovate UK KTN

Measuring, Monitoring & Mitigating Fugitive Plastic GRIPS 2023 revisits this theme, showcasing some of
the Research and Innovation for cross sector solutions.
Chair: Nick Cliffe, SSPP Challenge Deputy

Food-grade recycling: the final frontier?

Demand for food-grade recycled plastic is growing but what needs to happen to meet this demand This session looks at some of the latest breakthroughs in recycling and how regulatory and legislative frameworks can enable greater uptake.
Chair: Prof. Tony Ryan, University of Sheffield

Standards: what to look out for

What are the new standards that relate to
sustainability of polymers?


Day Two: Thursday 11th May

09:30Global Plastics Treaty - An update on the Internationally legally binding UN agreement

Chair: Adam Read, Director of External Affairs, Suez
11:00Chair: Denise Goldsmith, Knowledge Transfer Manager, Marine Plastics, Innovate UK KTN

Fishing gear: polymers, pitfalls and potential

Scale, impact, interventions and innovations regarding end of life of fishing gear. Recycling, EPR & biodegradable alternatives.
Chair: Paul Davidson, SSPP Challenge Director

Chemical Recycling: Making it real; making it work for the environment

As innovation and investment in plastics-to-plastics
chemical recycling ramps up, how can we ensure we use this technology where it is environmentally beneficial and then maximise the environmental benefit it can offer?
Chair: Neil Witten, Innovate UK

Polymer processing towards Net Zero. Is it credible? Can we achieve it?

What's the current carbon footprint of our industry and what can we do to lower it? From lightweighting
through to ultrasonic and microwave processing this session will showcase some new innovations for the polymer industry.
12:30Chair: Jordan Fletcher & Emma Fadlon,
Knowledge Transfer Manager, Investment,
Innovate UK KTN

Innovation and Investment

This session will highlight GRIPS most innovative projects and talk with investors regarding their strategy in order for companies to attract sustainable investment. It will culminate with the winner of GRIPS most
innovative showcasing their idea.
Chair: Nick Cliffe, SSPP Challenge Deputy Director

The role of compostability in achieving the UK Plastics Pact targets

If the UK wholeheartedly embraced composting for garden, food and packaging waste what would we need to do?
Chair: John Bound, MADE, Innovate UK KTN

Design for circularity

Designing for end of life is paramount in all polymer processes, this session showcases tools, practices and examples of how to make a sustainably designed product.
13:00Q&A - Investors in Sustainable Innovations.
14:00This session will include: InvestmentChair: Gavin Lewis, SSPP Challenge Innovation Lead

Delivering reusable and refillable packaging at scale

Momentum is building to move reuse and refill into the mainstream. This session explores how collaborative ‘whole system’ thinking, large-scale trials and behavioural research are providing insights and evidence to build the business case
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