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UK to ‘lead the world’ in sustainable packaging

The government has announced up to £60 million in new funding for sustainable packaging to help British businesses follow in the footsteps of major innovators.

The government has announced up to £60 million in new funding for sustainable packaging to help British businesses follow in the footsteps of major innovators.

The funding could help develop new forms of packaging and plastic made from farming, food and industrial waste; introduce smart packaging labels to help consumers recycle or cut down on food waste; or increase the use of recycled content in new products. 

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will deliver the funding through the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

To mark the investment in sustainable plastic packaging, the government has also produced a Bioeconomy Strategy to help boost the development of bio-based and bio-degradable packaging. 

Energy and clean growth minister Claire Perry said the move “will make us a beacon for design, manufacturing and exporting of sustainable plastics and environmentally-friendly replacements for polluting products.”

Industry collaboration

UKRI has also launched a free Circular Plastics Network to bring together plastic producers and users across the UK. The Network is building an interactive tool to help companies discover potential partners for knowledge-sharing and collaboration. 

Industry collaboration to improve packaging is becoming a popular approach amongst major companies.

For example, Mars Petcare - which owns the Whiskas and Pedigree pet brands - has partnered with recycling experts TerraCycle to launch a free nationwide pet food packaging recycling scheme, and is calling on other pet food manufacturers to join them.

Through the initiative, pet owners can drop off their used pet food packaging at a number of public drop-off locations around the country or free-post them directly to TerraCycle, where they will be turned into useful items like park benches or fence posts. 

Mars Inc. described the scheme as a “positive short-term solution” ahead of delivering on a global commitment to achieve 100 per cent recyclable packaging by 2025.