UK spearheads new £50m plastics innovation hub

Unilever and Waitrose have backed a new UK-led research and innovation hub that aims to tackle plastic waste through innovative solutions.

The UK will play a leading role in designing and running the project, with an international steering board in place to oversee the work

The UK will play a leading role in designing and running the project, with an international steering board in place to oversee the work

Through the Marine Plastics Research and Innovation Framework, high-level researchers from the UK will share scientific and technical expertise with peers from Canada, India and other Commonwealth countries to help find suitable alternatives to plastic.

The Framework has received £25m funding from the UK Government, with a further £25m matched by Commonwealth nations.

UK Energy Minister Claire Perry said it would ensure the UK is “at the forefront of encouraging the world to move towards clean growth, tackling the threat from marine plastics and protecting our oceans for future generations”.

‘Great challenge of our time’

The UK will play a leading role in designing and running the project, with an international steering board in place to oversee the work. Theresa May first announced the UK’s contribution during last month’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, where the PM also confirmed a consultation will take place later this year to prepare England for a national ban on plastic straws.

The British Plastics Federation, WRAP and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation are among those who have given their support, which includes access to facilities and networks. Dutch-Anglo consumer goods firm Unilever and UK retailer Waitrose have committed £5m and £500,000 to the programme respectively.

Unilever chief executive Paul Polman said: “It is critical that governments, businesses and others from across the Commonwealth work in partnership to step away from our take-make-dispose model of consumption.

Polman’s thoughts were echoed by Waitrose’s managing director Rob Collins: “With plastic waste one of the great challenges of our time, we strongly support the Commonwealth Summit’s plans and targets to tackle this issue,” Collins said.

Waitrose and Unilever are both members of the newly-formed Plastic Pact, created by not-for-profit WRAP. All members have vowed to eliminate single-use packaging through redesign by 2025.


John Lewis at edie Live

Benjamin Thomas will be speaking at the Resource Efficiency theatre on day two of edie Live. This session will hear from some of the industry experts and organisations that have been championing closed-loop collaborations to drive resource efficiency.

Running between 22 – 23 May 2018, edie Live plans to show delegates how they can achieve their Mission Possible. Through the lens of energy, resources, the built environment, mobility and business leadership an array of expert speakers will be on hand to inspire delegates to achieve a sustainable future. For more information click here.


George Ogleby


Tags

unilever | waitrose | waste management

Topics

Waste & resource management | Green policy
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