How do microplastics affect your soil and growing space? We’d like to get your thoughts for a new project with Coventry University’s Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR).
We want to know more about how different plastics are used in vegetable plots, community gardens and allotments and determine ways of minimising further contamination.
Plastics in the garden
Worldwide plastic use is increasing rapidly and it can be easy for gardens and greenhouses to fill up with plastic products such as plant pots and modules, labels, mulches and polytunnel coverings.
But inevitably, these materials degrade to release microplastic fragments that may affect the functioning of soil life. Plastic particles are also brought into gardens as contaminants in composts and manures and are deposited from airborne dust and floodwater. Although awareness of this pollution is growing more research is needed to understand its significance.
Plastic pollution pilot project
We’re delighted this project has been given funding by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) for a six-month pilot project called: Co-creating Citizen Science for Reducing Plastic Contamination of Soil in Community Food Growing Spaces (REPAS).
Your knowledge and input is essential in helping us develop effective and replicable methods. We’d like to work with gardeners and growers to co-develop methods of assessing plastics that are already in the soil and reduce further contamination.
This citizen science-centred research builds on previous collaboration with CAWR, including the recent NERC-funded EDENS project.
How you can help
We have a short survey as a first step to understanding people’s use of plastics and their concerns. Click here to take part.
This will be followed by a series of six regional workshops which will examine the issues in more detail. You’ll then help us co-create methodologies for analysing plastic contamination in food-growing soils.
This work will be used as a basis for an application to NERC for funding for a longer-term project to enable the findings to be rolled out more widely.
Dates for soil plastic workshops
We'd love you to join us at the following workshops:
Thursday 22 Feb
The Bradbury Room, Drapers Place, Horsefair, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, SY2 6BP4
Saturday 2 March
Penrith Quaker Meeting House, Meeting House Lane, Penrith, CA11 7TR.
Book via email here
Monday 4 March
Dining Room, Beaumont Hall, University of Leicester, Stoughton Drive, Oadby, Leicester, LE2 2NA
Sat 9 March 2024
10am-3pm (with lunch included)
Norfolk Room, The Conference Suite, Breckland Council, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham, NR19 1EE.
Wednesday 13 March
The Other Place, Meadow Street, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1QL
Tuesday 20 Feb
Earlsdon Library, Earlsdon Ave N, Earlsdon, Coventry, CV5 6FZ
Saturday 16 March
Beechwood Allotments, Beechwood Ave, Coventry, CV5 6AG
Monday 8 April
CAWR, CAWR Laboratories, Ryton Organic Gardens, Wolston Lane, Coventry, CV8 3LG
Read more about the damage done by garden plastics and how to reduce plastic use in your garden.