The UK Government has announced a funding initiative of up to £4m to encourage businesses to reduce the amount of plastic entering the environment.

In order to receive the funding, businesses need to showcase innovative ideas that reduce plastic waste through new alternatives.

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The competition, which is a part of the £20m package of the Plastics and Research Innovation Fund, calls for ‘circular economy’ approaches to plastic use.

“In order to receive the funding, businesses need to showcase innovative ideas that reduce plastic waste through new alternatives.”

The government will consider projects working on new polymers, recycling processes, product designs, recycling regimes and use of biodegradable alternatives for the grant, which is provided by UK Research and Innovation and delivered by Innovate UK.

The projects can also focus on aspects, such as increasing the value of recycled polymer, innovations that promote behavioural change among people, as well as new approaches, focused on compostable or biodegradable materials.

Businesses have until 8 August this year to submit their applications for the competition.

Only projects that include an SME will be considered, although they can be led by a business or a research and technology organisation.

Project costs could be in the range of £50,000-£1m and last between three and 24 months.

Back in 2016, global plastic generation stood at 1.5 million tonnes, which is expected to double by 2034.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that the UK Government will commit to eliminating all avoidable plastic waste by 2042 as she launches the government’s environmental plan for the next 25 years.