Businesses eligible for share of £800,000 in government competition to find sustainable plastic packaging

Businesses can apply for a share of £800,000 to look at innovative designs for products, services or business models that make plastic use more sustainable.

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, has up to £800,000 from the Plastics Research and Innovation Fund, to invest in business projects that seek to better understand the behaviour of customers and users and use that understanding to create innovative design concepts.

the competition is open, and the deadline for applications is at midday on 16 September 2020. Businesses of any size may apply. Innovate UK said it expects projects to range in size between £20,000 and £80,000 and last between 3 and 6 months. More information can be found on the website:

Projects must develop design concepts that do not rely on single-use plastic using customer and user research. They could look at redesign of existing goods, services or business models or design of entirely new ones. The design concept should prioritise reuse of products and extending the life of products over recycling.

If a project is looking at ‘design for recycling’ then it must be compatible with existing recycling technology and infrastructure.

Design could include contributions from engineering, materials science, service design, circular design and systems thinking.

The world produces around 350 million tonnes of plastic every year. Europe recycles about 40% of its plastic waste. Some of the rest goes to landfill or for incineration and some still leaks out into the environment.

Better design of products, processes and services is one way of reducing the environmental impact of plastics. However, the design must be one that consumers and users will want to adopt and it needs to fit with the way they behave.

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