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Ongoing Research

Four PhD projects are ongoing supervised by members of the project team:

Yangyimin Xue, Computer Science
Development of AI tools for analysis of social media data on plastics

This study is developing artificial intelligence tools for mining and analysing social media posts relating to plastics. Procedures for text mining and public opinion analysis will provide an effective reference source for decision-makers.  Social media comments both reflect and influence wider public opinion. Therefore, the means to automatically mine and analyse high numbers of posts in a short space of time will provide researchers and policy makers with a means to rapidly gauge public response to government or business plans.


Shamini Howshigan, Psychology
Improving recovery rates: use of shape symbols on product packaging

Current systems for rubbish disposal can be too complicated for the layperson.   A complex and non-intuitive waste disposal system makes it difficult for the layperson to correctly dispose waste appropriately (e.g., throwing recyclable plastics into the correct coloured rubbish bin).  This project examines a new system using associations via shapes between the waste product and waste disposal.  We are seeking to create a simpler and less cognitively demanding way for laypeople to dispose of their waste in the appropriate waste bins.


Jana Busch, Geography
Circular plastics economy at universities

The University of Hull is used as a testbed for engaging the university population with a circular economy of plastics, focusing on social practices on campus.  University campuses can be breeding grounds for knowledge and skills and are an apt platform for societal change via their educational role.  The research aims to investigate the integration of a circular plastics economy in campus life and the position that universities can take on as institutions as much as places of (knowledge) production, consumption and education to drive sustainability.


Xin Zhang Chemistry
New plastics: Bio-based and biodegradable

This project continues the development of biodegradable bioplastics progressed by the plastics project.  Ongoing work is developing the ability to customise the new plastics by controlling the strength (via the introduction of alternative monomers and/or additives/cross-linkers and manipulation of the catalyst structure) and other properties that might be beneficial in given circumstances (e.g. the rate of biodegradation).


Keep up to date with the latest news

Read All News

‘Links in a Chain’ Podcast launched to help people take steps to tackle the plastics challenge

Research supports Scarborough Borough Council’s quest to be a ‘single-use plastic free council’

PRIF Conference Papers: Creative Circular Economy Approaches to Eliminate Plastics Waste