Soil loss: an unfolding global disaster

Our experts give evidence on soil and plastic to Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

Grantham Centre experts have given evidence to the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). Topics covered by our experts include soil health and plastic food packaging.

POST is parliament’s in-house source of analysis of public-policy issues. Their focus is public-policy issues related to science and technology, but they publish summaries on a wide range of subjects. These summaries of public policy issues are called POSTnotes.

POSTnotes: giving parliament expert advice

Deborah Beck outside the Grantham Centre
Deborah Beck, Grantham Centre Manager, who coordinated the POSTnotes

Because parliamentarians need knowledge of key issues that are about to be in the public sphere, POSTnotes are produced proactively. POST decides on important topics and then puts out calls for information. Deborah Beck, our Centre Manager, responded to these calls and then coordinated the relevant Grantham Centre experts to meet with POST.

As a result, Grantham Centre experts have so far provided evidence to three POSTnotes. Importantly, research from a Grantham Centre supervisor was also included in a finished report (see below).

Here you can find information about the three POSTnotes we have been a part of. Follow links below for full versions.

Sustaining the Soil Microbiome

Did you know that ‘soil microbiome’ are communities of microorganisms in soils? Further, the soil microbiome underpins natural processes in soil habitats. As a result it is vital for the health of soils. However, environmental and land use changes affect these vital microorganisms.

The Sustaining the Soil Microbiome POSTnote gives an overview of the benefits provided by the soil microbiome. It also looks at ways of assessing it and how to improve its condition.

Deborah Beck and Grantham Scholar David Rapley coordinated Grantham Centre experts’ response to this POSTnote. Included were Professors Duncan Cameron, Jurriaan Ton, Jonathan Leake and Dr Stephen Rolfe. All of them are Grantham supervisors, and Duncan is on our Management Board.

Dr Anna Krzywoszynska’s soil research gets a special mention
Anna K whose work on soil health was referenced in the POSTnote
Dr Anna Krzywoszynska‘s research was referenced in the Soil Microbiome POSTnote.

But perhaps best of all, Dr Anna Krzywoszynska‘s research was directly referenced. We are especially proud of this because Anna has received Grantham Centre funding to help her create the Soil Care Network. Join the Soil Care Network newsletter for more about soil, from both science and social science perspectives.

Also, the report’s author Cagla Stevenson visited the Grantham Centre. While here, she held a workshop with Grantham Scholars about her experience working for POST.

If you want to know more, you can read the full POSTnote here.

Compostable Food Packaging

Compostable food packaging could potentially reduce waste from plastic food packaging. But obstacles exist to its widespread use. For example, the lack of a systematic collection system and composting infrastructure. Or the enforcement of standards and complications with recycling.

This paper describes policy options to enable greater use of compostable packaging.

Members of our Plastics: Redefining Single-Use project were part of this consultation. Included were Dr Thomas Webb and Dr Rukayya Muazu. And our packaging consultant Sarah Greenwood from the same team also gave evidence.

If you want to know more, you can read the full POSTnote here.

used plastic bottles
The Grantham Centre has a special project Plastics: Redefining Single-Use and our experts from that team provided information to two POSTnotes

Plastic Food Packaging Waste

The food sector uses a lot of plastic packaging. However, plastic waste is a growing consumer concern.

So this POSTnote outlines the main options for reducing packaging waste. These include removing, reusing, replacing and recycling plastics. Then the paper examines the potential to combine them into a coordinated waste strategy.

As with Compostable Food packaging, members of our Plastics: Redefining Single-Use team provided information to this POSTnote. Included were Dr Thomas Webb, Dr Rukayya Muazu and our packaging consultant Sarah Greenwood.

If you want to know more, you can read the full POSTnote here.

Our research

You can find out all about research at the Grantham Centre here

Want to know more about our plastics project? Look here

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