Sustainable packaging – a key project of the Chemistry Council’s Innovation Programme – is set to receive £61.4m from the government to help reduce the harmful impact of plastic waste.
The funding, which will be provided through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund by UKRI and supported by industry investment, will be used to develop new types of packaging that could help the UK reduce its reliance on oil-based single-use plastics.
‘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,’ said Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry.
The project will be closely linked to the government’s newly published Bioeconomy Strategy, which aims to address the way we dispose of and use food, chemicals, materials, energy and fuel, and produce bio-based products that will help fuel a low-carbon future.
‘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,’ Perry said.
As part of a move to reduce plastic waste, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has introduced a series of regulations of the past few years that have changed the way the public consume plastic, including the popular 5p plastic bag charge and a ban on microbeads introduced earlier this year.
This injection of investment into research and industry is hoped to encourage businesses to rise to the challenge of growing consumer demand for sustainable packaging. In the UK alone, packaging sales totalled £11bn in 2017, which is expected to increase by £500m this year.
Sustainable packaging has been identified by the Chemistry Council’s Innovation Group as a key project for the Council’s recently published Strategy, which was developed in collaboration with SCI.