The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) public body is providing £6m ($7.74m) in funding to support five new three-year-long projects that focus on promoting a sustainable plastics system.

Out of the total funding, approximately £5m will be delivered by UKRI’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and £1m by its Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

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The five multidisciplinary projects will demonstrate ways to boost the longevity of plastic in use and create a sustainable plastics system to help the country move towards a circular economy.

All of these projects are being led by the UK’s educational institutions.

The first project is being led by Dr Agnieszka Brandt-Talbot at Imperial College London in coordination with its various academic, retail, recycling, and packaging partners. It will introduce an easier approach to recycling multilayer packaging.

The next project will promote the circularity of medical testing plastics. Led by Professor Andrew Dove at the University of Birmingham, this project will help provide solutions to minimise plastic waste generated by rapid test kits.

For this project, Dove will work together with National Health Service trusts, plastics manufacturers, as well as laboratory equipment supply partners.

The third project is being led by Dr Daniel Slocombe of the University of Cardiff to ensure that the recovered material can be recycled into high-quality products at a fast rate.

The fourth project is led by Professor Mark Miodownik at University College London with the aim of achieving sustainability in absorbent hygiene products, including disposable nappies, period products, and incontinence pads.

Finally, the fifth project focuses on transforming textile waste into recycled plastics. This will be led by Professor Chenyu Du at the University of Huddersfield in close collaboration with the university’s academic and industrial partners.

The UK’s minister for Environmental Quality and Resilience Rebecca Pow said: “Plastic pollution has devastating impacts on our environment and wildlife and I am determined that we move away from a ‘take, make, throw’ model and shift towards a circular economy for plastics.

“These ambitious projects will support our efforts to reduce environmental damage caused by plastics and move towards a circular economy.”