The UK is to lead the world in the development of a system of sustainable packaging which moves away from oil-based plastics, with the help of a £60 million investment from Government.
Boosted by the injection of funds, the initiative – delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund – plans to transform food scraps and industrial waste into eco-friendly plastic packaging.
It is hoped that so-called ‘smart’ labels and bins would ‘revolutionize the way recycling is sorted in waste plants’, according to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
Further, it could ‘end confusion over what rubbish goes in which recycling bin’, while the addition of living sell-by-dates would demonstrate to consumers when food is going off; a feature designed to reduce food waste.
The investment is subject to industry entering into partnership with the Government, and committing to ‘significant co-investment to this challenge’.
Bolstering this deal, the Government has announced plans to develop bio-based and biodegradable plastics to ‘help boost bioeconomy’ and set ‘world-leading standards’ in sustainable packaging.
Today’s funding and sector strategy enhances our position as a global leader on improving our environment
Claire Perry, Energy and Clean Growth Minister, comments: “Finding innovative solutions to tackle our use of harmful plastics which blight our land and seas is a major global challenge and opportunity – one our nation of researchers and innovators is fit to seize.
“Today’s funding and sector strategy enhances our position as a global leader on improving our environment and tackling climate change. It will make us a beacon for design, manufacturing and exporting of sustainable plastics and environmentally-friendly replacements for polluting products as we move to a greener, cleaner economy – a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy.”