The UK government has announced plans to invest £60 million to help fight the battle against single-use plastics and develop new forms of packaging.
Businesses are expected to jointly invest up to £149 million. Funding could be used to find ways to cut waste in the supply chain, develop new business models and create new sustainable recyclable materials.
The plans form part of the government’s Clean Growth Challenge – a key part of the Modern Industrial Strategy, which is backing the development of plastics made from plants, and products that degrade easily in an open environment.
The government has published a call for evidence on standards for bio-based materials and biodegradable plastics. It is seeking evidence from scientists, manufacturers and the research community on the sustainability and wider impacts of biodegradable, compostable, and bio-based plastics and asks whether new and improved standards and labelling for these materials would be valuable.
UK Research and Innovation CEO Professor Sir Mark Walport said: “Plastic pollution is a global crisis that affects our oceans and our land. The new investment through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will establish the UK as a leading innovator in smart and sustainable plastic packaging solutions, delivering cleaner growth across the supply chain, with a dramatic reduction in plastic waste entering the environment by 2025.”
UK Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “We have all seen the enormous damage being caused by single-use plastics across the world. The race is on to develop new effective and practical solutions to end the scourge of single-use plastics, helping protect our planet for future generations.
“We have put a record level of research and development investment at the heart of our Industrial Strategy – investing to support our best minds and businesses in developing the solutions and industries of tomorrow.
“This government and business co-investment clearly demonstrates that when it comes to cutting plastics pollution there is a shared ambition. This is a unique opportunity for our world-leading businesses and innovators to develop the materials of the future with the potential to transform our economy as well as our environment.”
The announcement comes two months after the UK said it will ban the sale and use of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds with plastic stems in England from April 2020.
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