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Innovation funding available to tackle plastic packaging

29 June 2021

The Government has announced that it is looking for innovative solutions to tackle the world-wide problem of plastic packaging. It is making £7m available from its Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund for research and development projects which can ‘significantly impact’ the targets set by the 2025 UK Plastic Pact.

These targets are:

1. Eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use packaging through redesign, innovation or alternative (reuse) delivery model.
2. 100% of plastics packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable.
3. 70% of plastics packaging effectively recycled or composted.
4. 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging.



The £7m funding will be awarded by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, from the Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Programme.

Any proposal must:

• improve the sustainability of the plastic packaging supply chain
• make a significant contribution towards delivering the targets of the UK Plastics Pact
• utilise at-scale innovation in design, technology, processes, business models, supply chains or data for plastic packaging
• embed a whole systems approach to plastic packaging sustainability, considering environmental, economic, and social factors

This is a competitive process and the competition closes at 11am UK time on 8 September.

Project size
This competition will award grants from £200,000 to £4 million per project.

Your project

Your project must:

• claim a grant between £200,000 and £4 million
• start in early 2022
• end by 31 March 2025
• last between 12 and 36 months

You will not be awarded funding if you have:

• failed to exploit a previously funded project
• an overdue independent accountant’s report
• failed to comply with grant terms and conditions

For industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

• up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
• up to 60% if you are a medium-sized organisation
• up to 50% if you are a large organisation

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

• up to 45% if you are a micro or small organisation
• up to 35% if you are a medium-sized organisation
• up to 25% if you are a large organisation

Projects must be able to demonstrate that their innovative concept will lead to improved packaging recycling or re-use, compared to existing re-use and recycling concepts of the same capacity. These include types which may otherwise be constructed without the grant, should an existing competitive concept exist.

For more information:

Home page:

Page with guidance on how to apply: