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Tom Allison   MSc

Tom Allison



Research student

School of Biosciences


I am a PhD researcher in the School of Biosciences, studying the impact of 'environmentally friendly' alternative products on aquatic systems. Specifically, my research focuses on cellulose-based wet wipes, commonly labelled as 'biodegradable' and 'flushable,' and their degradation and environmental fate in wastewater and freshwater systems.

Prior to this, I obtained a BSc in Human Geography from Cardiff University in 2020. My research for this degree explored the influence of Blue Planet II on changing people's behaviour to plastic pollution, which received recognition from Sir David Attenborough.

Following my undergraduate studies, I pursued an MSc in Global Ecology and Conservation at Cardiff University in 2021. For my final research project, I investigated the effects of noise and light pollution associated with urbanisation on passerine song behavior.

Driven by my strong interest in understanding human impact on the natural environment, I am now undertaking my PhD focusing on microparticle aquatic pollution.


Co-manager, Environment and Plastics Research Network

This network was launched in 2023 to showcase research at Cardiff University focused on plastics and their environmental legacy and to develop interdisciplinary solutions to the issues created by plastic pollution. Through workshops, conferences and networking events, we aim to unite plastic academics across the University and spark new research initiatives, while also facilitating important stakeholder connections including those within industry, policy, retail, NGOs, education etc. 




Identification, Occurrence, Transport, and Fate of Biodegradable Cellulose-based Wet Wipes in Freshwater Ecosystems

Manufactured 'biodegradable' and 'bio-based' products do not necessarily break down within the natural environment and can contribute to the growing issue of plastic pollution.

By focusing on wet wipes, a significant flushed pollutant often found in aquatic systems, and cellulose, a popular biopolymer material used in their manufacturing, my PhD research investigates the full life cycle of biodegradable cellulose-based wet wipes.

This includes their material properties, flushed disposal pathways, degradation mechanisms and environmental fate, from wastewater to freshwater.

Funding sources

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Sustainable Plastics DTP


Isabelle Durance

Isabelle Durance

Professor and Director of the Water Research Institute