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Using psychology to tackle the problem of waste plastic


   Department of Psychology


About the Project

Waste plastic can have a devastating effect on the environment, threatening the biodiversity of our oceans and introducing micro-plastics into the food chain. The University of Sheffield has a large multidisciplinary research project to try to tackle these issues, which involves psychologists working alongside scientists from across the University (http://grantham.sheffield.ac.uk/new-1-million-research-project-at-the-grantham-centre-to-re-think-plastics-production-and-use/). There is therefore the opportunity for a PhD student to build on this research to propose and test innovative ways to reduce plastic waste. One approach might be to try to change the “throwaway” mindset associated with plastics and find ways to encourage people to value plastic, perhaps by thinking about buying the product, but renting the packaging (much as we used to do when milk bottles were delivered to our homes). Projects could be conducted in a range of contexts, from laboratory studies (e.g., asking people to think about their ‘favourite’ thing made of plastic and then measuring their implicit attitudes toward plastic) through to field research (e.g., prompting people to form if-then plans, or implementation intentions, to use reusable coffee cups).

Funding Notes

Self funded or externally sponsored students only. Intakes are usually October and March annually.

NB The University has some scholarships under competition each year. More details can be found - View Website

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