About UK Microplastics Network

The UK Microplastics Network is an inclusive interdisciplinary network for any individual or organisation with an interest relevant to microplastics.

The aims of the network for stakeholders are:

  • Facilitate communication between researchers and stakeholders
  • Identify diverse relevant skills, facilities and funding sources which can assist in development of microplastics research
  • Develop strategies for tackling the issue through collaborative working
  • Economic benefits to businesses and organisations who can gain advice and plan for future legislation that may impact their products and business
  • Informing evidence-based decision making on microplastics policy and legislation


How do I join the network?

Please visit this link to become a member of UKCPN & UK Microplastics Network.

Please also follow UK Microplastics Network on Twitter for regular microplastic-relevant updates.

For any network or research-related enquires please contact Alice Horton.


What are microplastics?

Microplastics are defined as solid plastic particles less than 5mm in size. In recent years, microplastics have become recognised as a widespread and pervasive environmental pollutant, present globally within water, soil and the air. Microplastics may be either primary (designed and manufactured to be of a small size) or secondary (broken or shed from larger items). Research is currently being carried out to understand where and how microplastics form, disperse and accumulate within the environment. Additionally, work is underway to understand the environmental and ecological implications of microplastics, including considering health effects on both wildlife and humans.

While microplastics may have unintended consequences if they end up within the environment, microplastics, and the larger plastics that can form them, have myriad useful and often essential applications. It is therefore crucial to ensure that society can continue to reap the benefits of these materials, while limiting any negative consequences. This requires having sufficient knowledge to inform our future actions, and the capabilities to act on this knowledge. To further progress the research and develop novel technologies, solutions and mitigation strategies to reduce environmental input and hazard, will require concerted interdisciplinary efforts. As such, this network aims to link those who are approaching this issue from multiple angles, including academia, government, industry, charities, consultancies and more.


Background to the network

The UK Microplastics Network was established in 2017 with funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), in response to the growing need for wider stakeholder understanding and involvement in the field of microplastics research. In 2019, the network joined with UKCPN to enable greater benefits for members of both networks with respect to access to resources, information and networking opportunities. Given the increasing recognition that the plastics issue must be targeted at all scales and across all parts of the supply and demand chain, it is a therefore a rational evolution for the UK Microplastics Network to become hosted within the UK Circular Plastics Network.






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