STEPS – Sustainable Plastics and Transition Pathways

STEPS goal is to facilitate this transition by sharing innovation, knowledge and findings between academia, industry and society. STEPS partners include Lund University, RISE IVF, IVL, 21 industrial partners and County council of Scania county of Sweden representing the entire value chains in a sustainable plastics system.

STEPS is looking for sustainable solutions throughout the value chain from renewable feedstock, conversion and design to post-consumer plastic waste handling. STEPS concept is to design sustainable plastics with desired material properties and life-cycle by matching suitable carbon-neutral building blocks.

Ingen kommer undan plasten

Vägar mot en mer hållbar plastanvändning

Mistra Summerar aims at summarising the research funded by Mistra.
“Ingen kommer undan plasten” is a book describing pathways to a more sutainable use of plastics.
Download and read the book “Ingen kommer undan plasten” here.

It is in our DNA to work with environmental issues

2021-06-18. Jonas Ihreborn AB is a Swedish furniture company with its own production in Värnamo, Småland. The company is run by Jonas Ihreborn – third generation furniture manufacturer – and produces timeless furniture with a long duration for a sustainable future. Since 2020, the company is part of STEPS.

– Ever since I was young, I have been interested in environmental issues. In the 70’s when I was growing up it was very dirty and polluted which made me want to contribute and make a difference. Being part of STEPS is part of this.

Read the interview here.


 Read about STEPS achievements during 2020!

2021-03-31. The report contains messages from our board and management, interviews with researchers and industry partners, our publications and selected highlights and media coverage.

“Our continuation as a research programme comes at a time when research on plastics and its impacts on society, is more important than ever. In the second phase, our ambition is to intensify academia-industry cooperation to generate knowledge and to co-develop and evaluate carbon-neutral plastic products for specific target-applications, with an inherent consideration for circular economy.”

Read the annual report here.


STEPS researchers co-write new EU-report on sustainable plastics

2021-01-28. There is no single silver bullet for plastics, the industry is way too complex. That message is delivered in a new report from the European Environment Agency, which, however, summarises three pathways forward for a more sustainable plastic system: smarter use, renewables and circular systems. Read further on the highlights section.


STEPS Programme director interviewed by Mistra

2020-11-12. In an interview by Mistra,  the Swedish foundation from strategic environmental research, professor Rajni Hatti-Kaul talks about comittment, awareness and academia .

Read the whole interview on Mistra’s website.

_DSC5848┬®Ruona 19

STEPS Phase 2 has started!

2020-09-17. STEPS has now officially started phase two of the research programme! The second phase runs from 1 September 2020 to 31st December 2024.
– We are delighted to go on to a second phase, especially now when there is real need for intensifying research and development to facilitate transition to a more sustainable plastic system. We are also happy to welcome many new and old partners to our programme, says Professor Rajni Hatti-Kaul, Programme Director, and researcher at Biotechnology at Lund University. Read further on the highlights section.

Photograph: Kennet Ruona

Malmö designer shows the way: This is how plastic can be used in the future

2020-09-07. Increased recycling, more bio-based plastic and fewer types. These are some of the pathways required for our plastic consumption to be more sustainable, according to STEPS researchers policy brief. Designer Kajsa Willner has taken on the task of interpreting these pathways in the exhibition Materiality & Aggregation at Form/Design Center in Malmö. Read about STEPS collaboration with designer Kajsa Willner in the this article in Sydsvenskan. 

Read also about the collaboration on Lund University’s homepage.

cutlery-8188_640 (1)

New plastic tax underway?

2020-08-11. A tax aimed to reduce the disposable use of mugs, cutlery and lunch boxes made of plastic: it is proposed in a new inquiry that has been handed over to the Swedish government. But how effective is it to use taxes as a tool to change people’s consumption habits? Listen to STEPS researcher Fredric Bauer in the radio interview in P1.

Read also researchers’ comments on plastic tax proposition on Lund University’s homepage


New authority is needed to achieve a circular economy in Sweden

2020-07-17. The restart after the corona crisis is an opportunity to create a more sustainable society. The Swedish government should establish a new authority with responsibility for resource efficiency and circularity, writes program directors for several Mistra programs in a debate article in DN today. Read the full article in Dagens Nyheter.