Photograph of a woman, with trees and an expanse of water in the background.

Lindsey Selleck

Cranfield University


Fate of plastics within landfill environments and their role in the mobility of metals


  • Dr Stuart Wagland
  • Professor Frederic Coulon
  • Dr Darren Beriro (BGS) 

PhD Summary

There has been a significant increase in the number of studies looking at microplastics in the environment recently. However, much of this is focussed on the marine environment and there is little looking at the fate of plastics within landfills, despite them being identified as a large source of microplastics. Additionally, it has been identified that microplastics can absorb metals, yet there has been no studies completed assessing this process within a landfill environment. Therefore, the aim of my PhD is to better understand the mechanisms of plastic degradation within landfills and identify how the degradation products can contribute to the mobility of metal.  

Previous activity

I completed my BSc in Environmental Science from Bournemouth University (2016-2020). Whilst at Bournemouth, I did a year in industry as an Environment, Health and Safety and studied at the University of Malta as part of the Erasmus exchange programme. I completed my MSc in Environmental Engineering at Cranfield University (2020-2021). Prior to returning to Cranfield, I volunteered for a reforestation charity developing online environmental courses for the public whilst also learning French. 

Why did you choose doctoral research?

I have always wanted to continue and further my education and so had been searching for a PhD project which was of interest to me since I finished my masters. I wanted to have the opportunity to dive deeply into one subject whilst not only developing my research skills, but also generating knowledge which can have a positive impact on the environment.  

Why did you choose CENTA?

I was attracted to the CENTA studentship due to the additional training opportunities provided compared to a standard PhD. Furthermore, I liked the idea of being part of a broader group of like-minded research students. 

Future plans

I am currently very open to ideas regarding the future after completing my PhD and look forward to seeing what opportunities may arise as a result of being part of the CENTA DTP. For now, I am interested in continuing in academia but would also consider working in industry and I think that I will have the skills to do both after completing this programme.