Biodegradable microbeads hit the headlines

As well as being polling day for the General Election, 8 June was also World Oceans Day. As part of this we announced the latest research from our Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies, developing biodegradable microbeads from cellulose that could potentially replace polluting plastic microbeads found in everything from toothpaste to shower gel.

The team led by Dr Janet Scott (Chemistry) and Professor Davide Mattia (Chemical Engineering) developed the new microbeads that could convert waste cellulose fibres from the paper making industry and using a process that can be easily scaled up. Whereas plastic microbeads can stay in the oceans for hundreds of years, these cellulose ones can biodegrade in a matter of weeks in the water treatment works.

The press release led to an impressive 241 pieces of news coverage, with an estimated news reach of 46 million. The story appeared in all the major national UK news outlets, with Janet being interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, Sky news, BBC World Service NewsHour & Newsday, BBC Pointswest, BBC Radio Wales, TalkRadio, Heart FM, BBC Radio Bristol and BBC Radio Somerset.

The story was also covered by many of the major national newspapers including The Times, iNews, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Metro, and the Record.

On social media, the story did well on twitter, with 12 retweets of the story from the @UniofBath account and the video (around 4000 impressions each). Elsewhere on twitter, an article on BBC Newsbeat was retweeted 11 times. The Facebook post did even better, with a reach of 11,300: 305 clicks on the post, 23 shares and 251 likes. The video has had more than 900 views so far.

The story was also posted on the news discussion and sharing site Reddit, with 19,000 upvotes and over 500 comments.

The Media Team would like to thank Janet, James and Davide for their hard work on promoting this story.

Last month the research project was awarded £1 million by the EPSRC to continue to develop the microbeads further so we look forward to working with Janet, Davide and their team to promote their work when they publish their next set of results!

If you have research about to be published that you would like to promote to a wider audience, please contact the University’s Media & PR Team.

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