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Ministers pledge £20m for plastics waste innovation

A £20m pot has been announced to support innovation to reduce the disposal of plastics.

Science minister Sam Gyimah said the Plastics and Research Innovation Fund aimed to boost recycling. The move follows increased awareness of the damage that plastic is doing to the natural environment, particularly the oceans.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will manage the fund, which will be delivered by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Innovate UK and the Natural Environment Research Council.

Gyimah said: “We are announcing a £20m fund for our best scientists and researchers through UKRI to come up with new technology and also new plastics that do not harm the environment so much.

“This means moving from our current model of make, use and dispose to a new model where you use, reuse and recycle.”

The fund will be split into three parts: a leadership and knowledge exchange with about £2m of funding, a research stream accounting for about £8m, and business-led research and development covering the final £10m.

Exchequer secretary Robert Jenrick said the Government was keen to reduce the disposal of plastics to protect the environment for future generations.

“One important part of this will be backing the creation of innovative products and methods of recycling plastic,” he said.

“We are also looking at how the tax system or charges can support our ambitions. Our recent call for evidence for views on this attracted a record 130,000 responses from the public, which shows just how important an issue this is.”


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