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A hand holding a plastic cube on a wooden surface. Photo: Siiri Paananen.
Photo: Siiri Paananen.

EU funding of 600,000 euros for the Faculty of Art and Design for plastics circular economy research

22.9.2022

The Faculty of Art and Design at the University of Lapland has been granted 600 000 euros in research funding as part of the EU-funded PlastLIFE project. The PlastLIFE project, addressing sustainable development and circular economy, focuses on reducing plastics and making their recycling more efficient. The Faculty of Art and Design will study, for example, design solutions to reduce the amount of plastic and test new replacement materials for plastics.

The PlastLIFE project brings together a large group of actors to jointly develop measures to reduce negative environmental impacts of plastics, littering and unnecessary consumption of plastics; to increase recycling of plastics and the use of recycled material in end-products, find complementary materials or solutions for plastics, as well as to develop methods for analysis and risk-assessment of plastics. The project combines scientific research and its results to practical measures.

Research at the Faculty of Art and Design will study, for example, how design solutions could reduce the amount of plastics. New replacement materials for plastics will be tested, too. Design research will focus, for example, on packaging design and on design solutions which could help consumers to easily separate different materials from each other for recycling. In addition, the possible solutions to influence on people's consumption behavior are studied.

Jonna Häkkilä, Professor of Industrial Design, is leading the University of Lapland's part of the project.

"The project will be able to utilize our Industrial Design department's diverse expertise, which combines product design, service design and interaction design. It is great to be able to devise concrete solutions for sustainable development. Sustainable design also resonates well with the strategic Arctic Design theme at the Faculty of Art and Design", says Häkkilä.

Ministry of the Environment and Finnish Environment Institute SYKE coordinate the project. The total budget of the project is approximately 20 million euros, and its financing comes from the EU Strategic LIFE Programme (LIFE SIP). The central aim of the project is sustainable circular economy of plastics in Finland by the year 2035. The project begins in January 2023 and continues until the end of the year 2029. In addition to the coordinators, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE and Finnish Ministry of the Environment, PlastLIFE project partners include Aalto University, the City of Helsinki, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, Kuljetusliike Vaahterinen Oy, LAB University of Applied Sciences, LUT University, Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE), University of Jyväskylä, University of Lapland, University of Turku Brahea Centre, Muovipoli Oy, Oy Orthex Finland Ab, Pidä Saaristo Siistinä ry/Keep the Archipelago Tidy Association, Plastone Oy, and Suomen Biokierto ja Biokaasu ry.

Further information:
Professor Jonna Häkkilä, firstname.lastname (at) ulapland.fi, tel. +358 40 864 3328
Researcher Ashley Colley, firstname.lastname (at) ulapland.fi, tel. +358 40 590 6669