UWTSD Anthropologists offer evidence to Parliamentary Inquiry into plastic packaging


Two anthropologists from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Lampeter campus were recently invited to give evidence to a Parliamentary inquiry into plastic packaging waste.

Luci Attala

Luci Attala, Senior Anthropology lecturer at UWTSD along with Applied Anthropology finalist, Rosemary Northover have written submissions to the inquiry drawing on their vast knowledge and experience of looking at how our behaviours shape our world.

“Discussions concerning the socio-environmental harms, and the inadequacies of effectively recycling, plastics are now well rehearsed,” says Luci in her evidence.

“These issues are counterbalanced by plastic’s enormous versatility and low production costs. To enable plastic to remain a useful material its inability to degrade needs to be addressed.

“Current practice almost forces consumers to purchase non-recyclable containers if they want to benefit from the contents. Governments should support moves away from recycling towards biodegradable with regards plastic containers,” she adds.

Luci Attala’s submission is very much focused on the issue of plastic consumption and consumer choice from the perspective of the young generation.  Eighty undergraduate Anthropology at students fed into the report with the information presented resulting from three years of informal qualitative data collection.

“At UWTSD, Anthropology is concerned with human relationships with the environment. The evidence presented by us was used to investigate not only the scale of the problem but also to suggest policy changes and a new way forward,” continues Luci.

“This submission document first describes the courses and then culminates with the students’ suggestions for the future that arose from their research. It also demonstrates the apprehensions young people have towards plastic bottles, cups and other non-biodegradable containers.

“We believe that we need to significantly shift the onus away from the consumer and towards the producer (or seller) to ensure manufacturers are incentivised to use environmentally sustainable biodegradable materials in the creation their products.”

Anthropology at UWTSD adopts an active, engaged stance to global issues where students are encouraged to challenge practices with a view to improve lives.

“Part of doing anthropology means getting out into the world to find out what people are up to,” says Luci enthusiastically.

“We believe that being in new situations and experiencing new cultural practices offers students a particular breadth and depth of understanding that being in lecture theatres cannot give. Because of this we urge our students to get as much hands-on experiential learning as possible during their time with us.”

Further Information

For further information, please contact Sian-Elin Davies by emailing sian-elin.davies@uwtsd.ac.uk / 01267 676908 / 07449 998476