UK government announces £20m research fund into alternatives to ‘devastating’ plastic

Lucy Purdy

A £20m fund to explore innovations around the way we manufacture and use plastic was announced this week by the science minister Sam Gyimah

Scientists and innovators will share a £20m funding pot to explore the question: can we produce plastic that is recyclable and more sustainable?

The Plastics and Research Innovation Fund, announced this week by science minister Sam Gyimah, will be managed by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and delivered via the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Innovate UK, and the Natural Environment Research Council.

Gyimah said: “There’s been incredible progress in making people aware of the danger that plastic can do to our environment and our oceans. Today we are announcing a fund for our best scientists and researchers to come up with new technology and also new plastics that do not harm the environment so much. This means moving from our current model of make, use and dispose to a new model where you use, you reuse and you recycle.”

This means moving from our current model of make, use and dispose to a new model where you use, you reuse and you recycle

Professor Sir Mark Walport, chief executive of UKRI, acknowledged that plastics play an important role in many aspects of modern life, but said society can no longer ignore the “devastating damage plastic waste can inflict on the environment and people’s health”.

As well as exploring new products and more efficient methods of recycling plastics, the project will consider how changes to the tax system could help. “Our recent call for evidence for views on this attracted a record 130,000 responses from the public, which shows just how important an issue this is,” said exchequer secretary Robert Jenrick.

UK businesses interested in applying for a share of the funding can visit the project page here

Image: RawPixel

 


 

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