Global partnering and funding to end plastic packaging waste

Compacted recycling waste stacked on top of each other.

As part of a global initiative, six UK innovators and their partners in India, Chile, South Africa and Kenya have been awarded £1.2m to tackle plastic packaging waste.

The International Circular Plastics Flagship Competition is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and delivered by climate change charity WRAP.

It has announced the award of £1.2 million funding to six UK-based innovators to work with international partners to tackle plastic packaging waste challenges in:

  • India
  • Chile
  • South Africa
  • Kenya.

Supporting technical innovation

UKRI and the smart sustainable plastic packaging (SSPP) challenge have already supported the development of Plastics Pacts aimed at reducing plastic packaging waste in each of the four countries.

This latest funding will support technical innovation to help achieve the targets set out in the pacts and is targeted at specific barriers to reducing waste identified in each country, including:

  • films and flexible packaging
  • reusable packaging
  • new business models
  • end market development.

Six ground-breaking projects

The projects awarded the funding tackle a range of challenges associated with plastic packaging:

  • Chile Plastics Pact: Notpla Ltd will develop and expand its applications for an innovative seaweed-based heat sealable film as an alternative to flexible plastic films for single use sachets
  • India Plastics Pact:
    • Interface Polymers Ltd will demonstrate the validity of its recycling additive technology, which enables multilayer films and mixed plastic streams to be effectively recycled into new products
    • ReVentas Ltd will investigate the feasibility of coupling its recycling technology with an existing Indian milk pouch collection
    • LESS& Ltd will explore the technical and economic viability of a reusable packaging option that could replace single use small format sachets or packs
  • South Africa Plastics Pact: WasteAid UK will undertake a feasibility study and pilot project in Mpumalanga on adopting an inclusive, whole system approach to closing the loop on plastic packaging
  • Kenya Plastics Pact: TrueCircle Technologies Ltd will use artificial intelligence to bring formal integration, market and pricing transparency, and fair-trade practices to the Kenyan waste sector.

Global partnership to help catalyse change

The competition is part of a wider global partnership initiative between the Innovate UK Global Team, WRAP and the SSPP challenge.

The partnership recognises the compelling need for rapid, targeted and collaborative action, and is directly aligned to the aims of the United Nations global resolution to end plastic pollution.

Focused on Asia, Africa and Latin America, the initiative will act as a catalyst for collaboration, bringing together:

  • innovators
  • investors
  • key industry stakeholders
  • the relevant Plastic Pact signatories and in-country networks.

Earth Overshoot Day

SSPP Challenge Director Paul Davidson said:

With Earth Overshoot Day acting as a sombre reminder of the impact of human activity on the planet, the International Circular Plastics Flagship Competition is providing targeted support for innovation that addresses ‘live’ problems in the fight against plastic packaging waste and pollution.

Driving change on the scale that is needed, however, requires sustained and shared innovation across the globe.

The SSPP challenge is delighted to be working with the Innovate UK Global Team, WRAP and our Plastic Pact partners to deliver, support and share much needed research and innovation to end plastic packaging waste.

Top image:  Credit: ermingut, E+ via Getty Images

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