Funding available to sustainable plastic packaging research projects

Funding is now available for sustainable plastic packaging research projects. Our Policy Advisor, George Atkinson, explains more...

£1 million worth of funding from Innovate UK, as part of the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, is now available and open to applications from UK based, early-stage, smart and sustainable plastic packaging research projects, that aim to “help make the plastics packaging supply chain become more circular.” This funding forms part of the Government’s Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Programme (SSPP).

The UK Plastics Pact objectives

Such research projects are important for businesses that are striving to achieve the following objectives set by the UK Plastics Pact:

  • 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable
  • 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted
  • 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging
  • Take actions to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use packaging items through redesign, innovation or alternative (reuse) delivery models

Project prerequisites

Projects will be considered if they relate to any of the following four key areas:

        1. 1.


        1. 2.


        1. 3.

      Technology or process

        1. 4.

      Business model or behaviour change

In addition, the Government has highlighted several more specific research areas projects may wish to pursue:

Materials innovation: New, recyclable polymer materials, bio polymers, improving compatibilization of recycled plastic

Design Innovation: Designing for recyclability/reuse, recyclability in product and food delivery packaging, sorting technologies

Technology/Process Innovation: Reuse processes, collection, sorting and separation technologies, mechanical or chemical recycling, composting or anaerobic digestion

Business model innovation: Reusable/ refillable packaging systems, zero waste business models, consumer behavioural change

Furthermore, projects are advised to have ‘total eligible costs’ of £30,000 to £100,000 and should seek to deliver state-of-the-art plastic packaging solutions through already established or close-to-market methods, currently validated or endorsed by a national and/or international agency.

Funding deadline

The funding initiative will welcome applications until 1 April 2020.

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