UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has introduced a new refillable packaging competition for liquid food and beverages in the retail chain.

As part of the Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge, the competition will be managed by Innovate UK, a part of UKRI.

Innovate UK will invest up to £1.5m ($1.8m) for each selected project.

Business-led projects that focus on replacing single-use packaging with refillable packaging for liquid products are applicable for a grant.

These projects should demonstrate in-store refill systems for high-volume liquid products like dairy and non-dairy milk, juices, alcohol, soft drinks, and various other condiments.

Each project should also last between six and 12 months and must conduct in-store trials in at least five stores for a duration of at least six months.

On Innovate UK’s website, it explains that ‘Your project must be or involve at least one large retail chain as project lead or grant-funded partner’, and that ‘You must include five or more stores as part of an in-store pilot, lasting at least six months.

‘The aim of this competition is to support business-led projects that demonstrate a reuse or refill packaging system for liquid food and beverage products at scale in a retail chain.’

In July this year, UKRI provided £6m in funding to support five new three-year-long projects that focus on promoting a sustainable plastics system.