THE UK government has announced the launch of a £60m (US$76m) innovation fund to accelerate the development of sustainable plastic packaging.
Over the last three years, the UK government invested £140m in developing sustainable plastics. It has now announced £60m in funding that is designed to challenge innovators to create sustainable packaging solutions and reduce the impact of harmful plastics on the environment. The funding will be available to develop new forms of plastic and packaging, such as turning food scraps into bioplastic bags and cups. Another area where the competition could accelerate development is the production of “live” use-by labels on food which deteriorate at the same rate as the food and would therefore reduce food waste.
The use of packaging is growing due to increased online sales. In 2017, sales of packaging totalled £11bn and the funding competition could help to boost the packaging sector by £500m/y.
Claire Perry, minister for energy and clean growth, 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. [This funding] 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.”
The funding will be delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Businesses will be expected to provide co-investment and enter into a partnership with the government.
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