£16 million funding for large-scale plastic packaging projects

Plastic packaging

UKRI to fund large-scale sustainable solutions to plastic packaging challenges.

UKRI has today announced the opening of a new £16 million funding competition, Demonstrator Projects Round 2.

Part of the Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging (SSPP) challenge, the competition will fund large-scale commercial demonstration projects that include first-of-a-kind infrastructure and trials of new packaging concepts and technologies.

Demonstrator Projects Round 2 is the latest stage of the SSPP challenge’s aim to develop a more sustainable plastic packaging supply chain, drive research into new materials and processes, and encourage collaboration to help reduce the environmental impacts of plastic packaging.

Reducing environmental impact

All projects must:

  • support the UK to deliver one or more of the UK Plastic Pact targets
  • clearly explain how they would reduce the UK plastic packaging system’s overall environmental impact

The projects must also focus on one or more of the following sustainable plastic packaging themes:

  • materials
  • product design
  • manufacturing technology and process
  • business model, supply chain and value chain design
  • value chain and end-user behaviour change.

In addition, the Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging team have identified these key themes for potential projects:

  • reuse and refill approaches
  • solutions for film and flexibles
  • creation of infrastructure for food grade recycled polypropylene (rPP)
  • behavioural change projects encouraging:
    • propensity to use refills
    • reduction in the use of plastic packaging
    • recycling more from home and on the go.

Entries for the initial expression of interest stage are open for collaborations only, with full submissions by invitation only to take place in May 2021.

Potential applicants can find out more about SSPP and any remaining competitions on UK Circular Plastics Network.

Apply now.

An efficient and sustainable plastic industry

Paul Davidson, challenge director for UKRI’s Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging challenge, said:

Our aim with this competition is to release the potential of new ideas on a larger scale. Whether it’s new approaches for infrastructure that revolutionise packaging processes, or changes to the components and manufacture of the materials themselves, our aim for the Demonstrator funding is to showcase the possibilities for creating an efficient and sustainable plastic industry.

Reduction, recycle and re-use will be key elements of successful applications, all geared towards our fundamental aim of creating a greener approach to plastic packaging use in the UK.

We believe collaboration is the cornerstone of successful innovation, which is why we have made it a requirement of the competition. Having expertise and insight from businesses, researchers, academics and technology innovators all working together allows a more complete picture to be made for the potential scope and success of the project ideas.

We look forward to seeing the development of these new concepts and how they could make a lasting impact in the sector.

Further information

About the Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging challenge

The Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging (SSPP) challenge aims to establish the UK as a leading innovator in smart and sustainable plastic packaging for consumer products with £60 million in funding from ISCF which will be complemented by £149 million from industry.

The challenge will deliver cleaner growth across the supply chain, with a dramatic reduction in plastic waste entering the environment by 2025. Part of this funding will develop and demonstrate at scale new business models for reuse and refill as well as behavioural change.

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