A £1m grant fund has been launched by British supermarkets chain Waitrose & Partners for projects that tackle plastic pollution in the UK.
Plan Plastic – The Million Pound Challenge will award money over one year to projects that can demonstrate an impact on plastic pollution now and in the future.
The £1m has been gathered from the sale of 5p carrier bags, and grants for the projects will provide between £150,000 and £300,000.
Various organizations such as charities, academic bodies, social enterprises, and schools & colleges can involve in the initiative, which will cover different project areas.
Waitrose has collaborated with environmental charity Hubbub to support the selected projects and measure the impact of the grants.
Hubbub CEO and founder Trewin Restorick said: “Waitrose’s new grant fund is tremendously exciting as it will support innovative thinking on how to combat the issue of plastic pollution.”
Various project areas include plastics in the community, public behavior change, food, agriculture and farming, as well as microplastics.
Organizations can present projects that strengthen and enable plastic recycling, and the circular economy linked to social impact.
The projects demonstrating new ways for shopping and consuming can also be presented.
Organizations can show projects focusing on providing alternatives, reducing use and increasing reuse of plastics in the food, agriculture and farming industries, and projects directed at identifying the impact, reducing the prevalence and preventing micro plastic pollution.
An independent expert panel, including representatives from academia, industry, non-governmental organizations, business and senior Waitrose Partner, will review the submissions in April. The submission of applications for Plan Plastic will close on 24 February.
Waitrose aims to remove all 5p plastic bags from its shops by March this year and replace loose fruit and vegetable bags with a home compostable alternative by spring this year.
Waitrose & Partners CSR, health and agriculture head Tor Harris said: “We hope the fund will help find new and effective ways of accelerating action to rethink how we all use and dispose of plastic – now and in the future.
“We take this issue very seriously, and are making progress all the time, but we’re determined to maintain our momentum as well as supporting others to do the same.”