Up to £60 million government funding has been announced for projects aimed at tackling plastic waste.
The announcement of funding came yesterday from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, as part of its Bioeconomy Strategy: 2018 to 2030.
According to BEIS, the funding – to be bolstered by industry support and delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund – could help develop:
- new forms of packaging and plastic – made from farming, food and industrial waste, like sugar beet, wood chippings and food waste – moving away from oil-based plastics
- smart packaging labels – which, alongside a smart bin, could tell consumers the right bin to put recycling into and revolutionise the way recycling is sorted in waste plants
- ‘live’ sell-by-date patch – a living sell-by-date which deteriorates at the same rate as produce to show consumers when their food is going off – cutting down on food waste
- reduce single use plastics – increase use of recycled plastic in new products
Businesses will be able to access this funding through UKRI managed competitions to meet the challenge of developing smart sustainable plastic packaging.
BEIS said the government is also looking at further ways to reduce avoidable waste and recycle more as part of its Resources and Waste Strategy to be published shortly.
“Government will look to utilise assets to their full potential, accelerating progress so that the UK is a place where maximum value is extracted from sustainable resources at all stages of use, including minimising the creation of waste,” the strategy notes.
According to BEIS, the new Resources and Waste Strategy will set out how the government’s ambition of zero avoidable waste by 2050 will be achieved.
“It will seek to maximise resource productivity, reduce waste in our resource systems and promote well-functioning markets for secondary materials and incentivise producers to design better products.”
Speaking yesterday, energy and clean growth minister Claire Perry said: “Finding innovative solutions to tackle our use of harmful plastics which blight our land and seas is a major global challenge, and opportunity – one our nation of researchers and innovators is fit to seize.
“Today’s funding and sector strategy enhances our position as a global leader on improving our environment and tackling climate change. It will make us a beacon for design, manufacturing and exporting of sustainable plastics and environmentally-friendly replacements for polluting products as we move to a greener, cleaner economy – a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy.”