Rebecca Mcfarlane

Degree: BSc Environmental Conservation

Project title: The Story of Plastics : Where it came from, how it came to be, early uses through to modern day usage.

Plastics, or polymers, occur both naturally and synthetically; rubber from trees is a naturally occurring polymer. This has been utilised over the years by inventors to
eventually reach the stage we are at in modern society where plastics, both natural and synthetic, are prevalent in modern life.

The early polymers that led to plastic were to create sustainable alternatives to natural materials being used. They were a safeguard to decrease the use of ivory, wood and
animal horn as the demand was beginning to outweigh the availability. These materials were also expensive and so a more affordable product was needed. While there was
a lot of research into these materials, the real breakthroughs were from the mid-1800’s.


  1. Why did you choose your course?

I wanted to change my career and work at preserving and protecting the local environment. I’ve always been more comfortable outdoors and figured it made sense to work in a way that would pay it back. The course at UWTSD looked like it would cater to that more than any of the others I looked into by giving a good mix of fieldwork and lecture topics that covered a broad range 


  1. What has been the current highpoint of your studies at UWTSD?

The support and eagerness to progress outside of the classroom from the Environmental staff. My first degree felt very solid and linear with no real energy to invitation to collaborate. In comparison, I’m now finishing my first year and feel inspired to work with graduates and leaders in the field to research and write without fear of rejection.  


  1. What are your career hopes after completion of your course?

Initially it was land management, though this is slowly changing as I work through the course and find that my strengths may be better applied elsewhere. Watch this space! 

Project Board

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