Keynote: The Future of Plastic

Thanks to campaigns like The War on Waste, plastic has become public enemy number one. Plastic waste is indeed a global environmental - and potentially health - problem, requiring us to change long-held wasteful habits, alongside significant political will and innovative solutions. But what of the other side to plastic - its astonishing variety of form and uses, from electronics to transport to buildings to emerging renewable energy solutions? Do we need to give plastic the flick for good or do we just need to be smarter about the kinds of plastics we produce, and how, where, and what we use them for?

Presented by the Faculty of Science, University of Melbourne, in association with Science Gallery Melbourne.

Our expert panelists were from a mix of backgrounds with expertise in key sub-themes of this, including:

  • The long-term environmental impacts of plastic
  • Potential solutions to the plastic waste problem
  • New and emerging plastics and applications
  • Health risks from plastics.

Our speakers included:

  • Moderator: Tanya Ha. Tanya is an award-winning environmentalist, best-selling author, broadcaster, science journalist and sustainable living advocate.
  • Emily Potter, Deakin University. Emily is a cultural and literary studies researcher of environmental practices
  • Dr Mark Green, University of Melbourne: Mark is the Merck Serono Senior Lecturer in Reproductive Biology and group leader in the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne.
  • Dr Uta Wille, University of Melbourne: Uta is a physical organic chemist whose work focuses on fundamental radical chemistry.
  • Dr Allyson O'Brien, University of Melbourne. Allyson is a lecturer in marine and environmental science and statistics in the School of Biosciences.