UK Plan to Invest £60 Million in Bio-plastic Innovations

Last week, the UK government announced plans to invest £60 million in projects aimed at developing closed loop bio-plastics made from industrial or post-consumer recycled food waste.

The government has said the funding would be administered through the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) agency to businesses interested in working on these projects. A series of managed competitions will be held, and funding will be awarded subject to entering into a partnership with the government and providing significant co-investment in support of the projects.

The plans are designed to accelerate the development of new greener plastic packaging, it could also help develop:

  • Smart packaging labels – which could revolutionise recycling sortation. Used alongside a smart bin to tell consumers the correct bin to put recycling in.
  • ‘Live’ sell-by-date patch – a living sell-by-date which deteriorates at the same rate as produce to show consumers when the food is going off.
  • Wider use of recycled materials – increased use of recycled plastic in new products.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Claire Perry, has said the projects could see household food waste used to create environmentally friendly plastic bags and cups. Meanwhile, smart labels on packaging could be a mainstream solution to ending confusion over what rubbish goes in which recycling bin.

New packaging could be manufactured from farming, food and industrial waste, such as sugar beet, wood chippings and food waste.

The first competition is set for early 2019 and in addition to the funding, winning projects will be given the chance to partner with a team of experts from UKRI for advice on best-practice and scaling up their operations.

It will be fantastic to watch out for these innovating ideas which will hopefully reduce waste and increase recycling rates.

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