Sam Cusworth

Can we reduce the use of single use plastics in food production?

I am a conscientious and passionate student of the environment. My passion for the environment has stemmed from my love of the outdoors. As an avid hiker, fell runner and outdoorsman, I have come to appreciate the beauty of landscape around me. Throughout my education, I have become increasingly aware of the pressures upon the environment, particularly those that are human generated. This has led me to pursue a PhD in Environmental Science, with the aim of rectifying some of these pressures.

My academic career began in 2015, where I undertook a BSc in Physical Geography at Lancaster University. During my undergraduate degree, I thoroughly enjoyed my studies, which led me to study an MSc in Environmental Management, remaining at Lancaster University. During this period, I produced a dissertation on the successfulness of peatland restoration projects and undertook modules relating to renewable energy and land systems. I have now begun my PhD and am looking forward to what the next few years hold.

This PhD focusses on reducing single use plastics in food production, particularly how this plastic is used in the agriculture. The fate of this plastic is relatively unknown once it serves its use growing crops. Measuring plastic debris in these agricultural soils will be important to determine any further effects it may have and trace its fate in the environment. Documenting the use and importance of plastic in UK agriculture will determine where plastic can be reduced or replaced with more sustainable materials. Considering that plastic pollution is at the forefront of current research and societies interests, this is a very topical project.