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Pioneering research to tackle plastic use in construction

An internationally significant research project has begun at Peel L&P’s Wirral Waters to drive out plastics in the construction industry and lead the development of sustainable plastic-free alternatives.

Sustainability and innovation in Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) are central to the development of Wirral Waters – one of the UK’s largest regeneration projects.

In 2021, Peel L&P became a member of Changing Streams CIC and signed up to its Charter, which sets out a clear mission and ambition for reducing plastic in the construction industry.

A ground-breaking partnership was then formed bringing together Peel L&P and its construction partners with Changing Streams and researchers from the University of Liverpool to identify where sustainable plastic-free alternatives can be used in the building sector.

This new partnership is now working to identify the amount of plastic used in construction, to develop innovative tools to design out plastic, and to establish new R&D opportunities to produce the plastic-free materials of the future.

Miller’s Quay, Peel L&P’s cornerstone residential scheme at Wirral Waters which celebrated its topping out ceremony last month, will be a key part of the research project. Over the next 3-4 months, the £130m residential development will become a hot bed of research and analysis, with academics assessing the potential for the construction industry to reduce the volume of plastics being used.

Dr Gareth Abrahams, Co-Founder and Head of Building Design Research at Changing Streams CIC, commented: “We are seeing a shift in the way that we design and construct the buildings that surround us and the buildings that we call ‘home’. As part of this shift, many of us are asking some very important questions about the way they perform – how much energy do they need to keep us warm or cool. But so far, there has been far less attention on the things we need to build these homes. This is not just about embodied carbon but also about embodied plastic.”


Pictured (L-R): Dr Gareth Abrahams, Senior Lecturer at the University of Liverpool; Richard Mawdsley, Director of Development for Wirral Waters; and Neal Maxwell, Founding Director of Changing Streams.

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