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STEPS - Sustainable Plastics and Transition Pathways

STEPS (Sustainable Plastics and Transition Pathways) is a research programme with a vision of a future society in which plastics are sustainably produced, used and recycled in a circular economy. STEPS aims to play a key role in instigating and accelerating this sustainability transition by strengthening the knowledge and research base for technology and product development and innovation, developing and assessing key niche products with industrial partners, and analysing the sustainability, institutional and policy implications of potential transition pathways.

The STEPS programme is formulated in close dialogue with industrial partners, and thus reflects the market needs for sustainable plastics both on a short-term and long-term basis. It is based on the concept of designing eco-friendly plastics having desired material properties and life cycle by matching appropriate carbon-neutral building blocks and their derivatives. Major focus in the programme is on polyesters, which represent a plastics group with varying properties for wide range of applications and a sizable global market. In STEPS, polyesters will made from building blocks produced from renewable feedstocks, and will also be evaluated for production of copolymers and composites with other natural polymers like protein, cellulose and starch.

The plastic products will be viewed from a life cycle perspective, taking into account the sustainability of the renewable feedstocks, production, processing, and end-of-life solutions for the plastics. Understanding how plastics are introduced and used as products as well as discarded as waste is an important part of assessing the whole life cycle. Thus, the programme will also consider consumer behavior as well as strategies of industries and business relating to innovative plastics.

Programme Director: Rajni Kaul, Professor in Biotechnology, LU 

Duration of the programme: 4 years (1 september 2016 - 31 August 2020)

Website of the programme:

The programme is financed by Mistra.


Programme Director
Rajni Hatti Kaul
Professor in Biotechnology, Lund University 
+46 46 222 4840