Cash for plastics pollution solutions

Ideas must focus on one or more of four aims: reduce the volume of plastic waste; significantly improve plastic recycling rates; reduce levels of confusion among the population; and reduce the amount of plastics ending up in the oceans.

Science, research and innovation minister Sam Gyimah said: “We’ve all seen heart-breaking images of sea creatures struggling to breathe due to plastic pollution, and the Blue Planet effect has made it impossible to forget that plastics are a growing threat to our planet.”

The competition is being managed by WRAP working with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). It was announced last week in London at the UK Plastics Pact, aiming to create a circular economy for plastics.

The cash is coming from a £20m Plastic Research and Innovation Fund (PRIF), announced by the chancellor during last year’s autumn budget statement. It is hoped the Fund will help to engage the best scientists and innovators to create sustainable approaches to plastics.

Professor Duncan Wingham, executive chair of the Natural Environment Research Council and PRIF lead for UKRI, said: “The Fund brings the strength of UKRI’s entire portfolio, from environment to technology to business to behaviour and regulation, to bear on the pressing and very widely recognised problem of plastic waste.”

The competition was announced ahead of this week’s first ever Green GB Week – a week of awareness raising as to how the public and business can help to tackle climate change.