Household food scraps could be transformed into environmentally friendly plastic bags and cups, thanks to up to £60 million of new funding announced by the UK government.
The funding, to be bolstered by industry support, is part of the government’s aim of seizing the economic opportunity of the global shift to greener, cleaner economies.
It could help develop new forms of packaging and plastic – made from farming, food and industrial waste, like sugar beet, wood chippings and food waste – as part of a move away from oil-based plastics.
Businesses will be able to access this funding through UK Research and Innovation-managed competitions to meet the challenge of developing smart, sustainable plastic packaging.
This investment is subject to industry entering into partnership with government and providing significant co-investment.
To mark the investment, the government has also announced a strategy to help boost the bioeconomy. It sets out an ambition for world-leading standards for bio-based and biodegradable plastics, to create new sustainable materials and reduce the impact of plastics on the environment.
The strategy forms part of an aim to find innovative alternatives to fossil fuel-based products, using sources ranging from the by-products of whisky production to seaweed.
UK 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.”
Earlier this year, the UK government announced that it will introduce a new tax on single-use plastics in a bid to further tackle plastic waste levels in the country.
It has also set out a plan to ban the distribution and sale of plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds in England.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019