A Treasury minister today commented that the government is looking at how the tax system or charges can link in with more use of recycled materials, writes Sarah Horton.
The focus on the tax system was highlighted by Robert Jenrick, exchequer secretary, who was commenting on the unveiling of a £20 million fund focusing on plastics research, innovation and recycling.
He said: “We are also looking at how the tax system or charges can support our ambitions. Our recent call for evidence for views on this attracted a record 130,000 responses from the public, which shows just how important an issue this is.”
Mr Jenrick’s comments come just three months after the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, called for evidence on how changes to the tax system could be used to reduce the levels of single waste plastic (see letsrecycle.com story).
And, Mr Jenrick noted: “We are tackling the issue of plastic waste to protect our environment for future generations. One important part of this will be backing the creation of innovative products and methods of recycling plastic.”
The fund was officially unveiled by science minister, Sam Gyimah, launched a £20 million fund today to explore “new ideas and innovations” on ways to recycle plastic. The minister said: “the Plastics and Research Innovation Fund (PRIF) will employ Britain’s best scientists and innovators to design more sustainable approaches to plastics.
The fund will be managed by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and delivered through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Innovate UK, and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
Mr Gyimah said: “There’s been incredible progress in making people aware of the danger that plastic can do to our environment and our oceans. Today we are announcing a £20 million fund for our best scientists and researchers through UKRI to come up with new technology and also new plastics that do not harm the environment so much. This means moving from our current model of make, use and dispose to a new model where you use, you reuse and you recycle.”
The £20 million fund will be separated into three distinct entities:
- Leadership and Knowledge Exchange: UK Circular Plastics Network funding of £2 million
- Research: Plastics ‘Creativity’ funding of £8 million
- Business led research and development: Plastics ‘Innovation’ funding of £10 million
Resource charity WRAP is to be involved in the fund’s work. Working with UKRI, the charity will look at initiatives across business, government and the research and innovation community. One of the aims is to enable the move to a circular plastics economy. The fund will also support the polymer, packaging, retail and waste sectors as well as waste collection in local government.
UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport said: “It is imperative we change our use and misuse of plastic. Although plastics have transformed the way we live and play an important role in many aspects of modern life, we are increasingly aware of the devastating damage plastic waste can inflict on the environment and people’s health.”
Additionally, Professor Duncan Wingham, UKRI’s lead for the fund and executive chair of the Natural Environment Research Council, said: “This Fund will bring the strength of UKRI’s entire portfolio… and will draw on the expertise of partners who have been working in the waste reduction and recycling arena for some time.”
More information on grant opportunities:
- Plastics innovation: towards zero waste – UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £4 million to develop new solutions to reduce persistent plastics entering our environment. For more information on the competition: click HERE. The competition closes on Wednesday 8 August 2018 12:00pm.
- Creative Circular Economy Approaches to Eliminate Plastics Waste – Up to £8 million is available for institutional awards for up to 18 months to research organisations to bridge the gaps between UK Research and Innovation research disciplines and respond creatively to the challenge of creating new circular economy approaches to eliminating future plastic waste. Expression of interest submissions close on 10 July 2018 4:00pm.Full proposal submissions close on 16 August 2018. 4:00pm. For more information on the call: click HERE.