UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging (SSPP) challenge has announced £30m of funding for 18 projects to develop sustainable plastic packaging and enhance recycling.

The funding will be given to five large-scale demonstrator projects and 13 business-led research and development (R&D) projects.

SSPP challenge director Paul Davidson said: “The key to the design and development of this funding competition, along with fostering cross-supply chain collaboration, is to encourage and support ambition at a scale that matches the size of the plastic packaging problem.

“If successful, these projects have the potential to rewrite the relationship we all have with plastic packaging.”

Of the £30m of funding, £4.4m has been allocated for developing an economically feasible approach to separate post-consumer non-food packaging from food-contact polypropylene (PP) packaging.

Materials Recycling World reported that Plasgran will lead this project in collaboration with Tomra Sorting, Maynard & Harris, RPC Containers and Massmould.

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A total of £4.1m of the funding has been earmarked for targeting plastic material that gets rejected by material recovery facilities (MRFs) and the waste from food retail stores.

Fiberight and Impact Recycling will partner to separate these for chemical and mechanical recycling.

Impact Recycling will build a commercial demonstrator plant that will use baffled oscillation separation technology to produce multi-layer and mono-layer flexible plastics with 95% purity.

The plant will be designed to have an annual processing capacity of 25,000t.

The SSPP challenge has also supported refill schemes run by certain supermarkets.

A partnership between Waitrose, Morrisons, home delivery retailer Ocado and logistics company CHEP has secured £3.7m to explore methods of refilling reusable containers with liquid and dry products.

In November last year, UKRI partnered with sustainability charity WRAP to launch the International Circular Plastics Flagship Projects competition, which aims to help manage plastic pollution in India, Chile, Kenya and South Africa.