Katie Parsons, from the Department of Geography, Geology and Environment at the University, is also involved in the research.
She said: “The initiative and concept for this research came from the East Riding Voluntary Action Services Youth Group I am working with and their thoughts on how COVID19 is an opportunity to start again with the way in which we interact with the environment.
“The youth group spoke about how the increased use of plastics due to COVID19 was something that worried them. The survey allows us to explore these ideas.”
As well as exploring peoples’ perceptions of plastics, the study will also examine how we dispose of, recycle, reuse or are reducing the consumption of plastics.
The online survey is broken into three parts.
The first section – Values and Principles – includes questions on how important participants think it is for plastics to be recycled.
It also asks how concerned they are about plastic pollution in their local area, globally, and who they think is responsible for reducing single-use plastic consumption.
The second section of the survey is focused on perceptions of plastics.
Participants are asked to share their feelings about plastics both before COVID-19, and in today’s world of living with a pandemic. Questions include whether people feel concerned about the increased use of plastic packaging on food items during the pandemic, and whether they feel plastic has helped keep people safe from the virus.
The final section is titled ‘Behaviour Change,’ and explores whether people – through increased online shopping, takeaways and use of face masks and gloves – have seen a rise in their own plastic consumption due to COVID-19.
The University of Hull recently launched a Plastics Collaboratory, to draw researchers together from across campus to explore the interactions between plastic, people and our natural world.
Comprising of more than 45 academics and PhD students, in fields including health, politics, logistics, chemistry, environmental sciences and education, the Collaboratory is identifying the gaps and leaks in a plastics circular economy, and aims to instigate changes in our use of plastics, from product design to how materials are recycled.
To complete the online survey around plastics and COVID-19, visit www.hull.ac.uk/plasticperception.