Plastics in a circular society: Alternative organising beyond resource efficiency

  • Chertkovskaya, Ekaterina (PI)
  • Stripple, Johannes (Researcher)
  • Hasselbalch, Jacob (Researcher)
  • Deere Birkbeck, Carolyn (Researcher)
  • Gäbken, Johanna (Researcher)
  • Luciani, Divya (Researcher)
  • Auty, Leon (Researcher)
  • Visser, Vera Norien (Researcher)

Project: Research

Project Details


Plastics, which are made of fossil fuels, make up 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions – a share which is expected to increase to 20% by 2050. Under the banner of a circular economy, states and industry have mostly focused on the technical dimension of resource efficiency and recycling, leaving inherent problems of plastic production and consumption to the side. In response, a new phenomenon has emerged – alternative organising initiatives targeting unsustainable plastic practices, such as bio-based plastic production using locally sourced waste, open-source technology designs for recycling, or packaging-free stores that prevent plastic use/waste altogether. Focusing on new materials, using less material, organising material flows differently and uniting into networks, these initiatives go beyond resource efficiency and reveal the beginnings of a circular society. Such alternative, culturally embedded, and resource-efficient economies have so far received scant academic attention and will be the focus of this research project.
This project brings together an international interdisciplinary team of researchers at Lund University, Copenhagen Business School and the Graduate Institute Geneva with specific competence in alternative forms of organisation, social entrepreneurship, political economy, and plastic policy and governance.
Short titlePlastics in a circular society
Effective start/end date2021/12/012026/11/30

Collaborative partners

  • Lund University (lead)
  • Copenhagen Business School
  • The Graduate Institute Geneva


  • FORMAS, The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning

UKÄ subject classification

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
  • Business Administration

Free keywords

  • plastics
  • alternative organisation
  • circular society