Ed Cook

Ed Cook


As a Research Fellow at the University of Leeds, Ed has worked on projects: as part of an international, interdisciplinary team which aims to reduce the mass of waste plastic entering the marine environment to near zero by 2040; a global review of the occupational and public safety challenges associated with waste plastics; and on the development of the Complex Value Optimisation for Resource Recovery project.

Ed has worked in waste management for twenty years, initially in an operational role, then as the CEO of a UK based waste management company where he oversaw a temporary seasonal workforce of over 1,000 employees and a fleet of over 30 vehicles. More recently he worked as a specialist consultant, providing waste management advice to local authorities, businesses, UK central government, and notably on the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games where he was part of a team which developed the waste strategy.

Since the global spotlight on plastics of recent years, Ed has worked on several policy projects including the Improving Markets for Recycled Plastics: Trends, Prospects and Policy Responses (OECD), Eliminating avoidable plastic waste by 2042: a use-based approach to decision and policy making (Resourcing the Future Partnership) and multiple projects for WRAP, Zero Waste Scotland and multiple commercial clients.

Research interests

Ed is a Research Fellow in Circular Economy Systems for Plastics in the Faculty of Engineering at Leeds University. His work focusses on obtaining a better understanding of plastic waste generation and fate in low and middle income countries, and developing models to mitigate plastic pollution. In particular, Ed is investigating the contirbution made to global plastic recycling by the informal recycling sector, and indomitable global workforce that is both marginalised and stigatised by society. 

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • MSc Waste and Resource Management

Professional memberships

  • Member of the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management

Research groups and institutes

  • Water, Public Health and Environmental Engineering