New funding could help transform food scraps into sustainable plastic packaging 

food waste
Food waste

Household food scraps could be transformed into environmentally-friendly plastic bags and cups due to new £60 million Government funding. 

Innovators are being challenged to make the UK a world-leader in developing sustainable packaging to reduce the impact of harmful plastics on the environment.  


The funding is to be given by industry support and delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. It could help produce: 

  • New forms of packaging and plastics made from farming, food and industrial waste 
  • Smart packaging labels which could tell consumers the right bin to put recycling into and change the way recycling is sorted in waste plants 
  • ‘Live’ sell-by-date patch, which deteriorates at the same rate as produce to show consumers when their food is going off to help cut down food waste 
  • Reduce single-use plastics and increase the use of recycled plastic in new items.  

Businesses will be able to access this funding through UKRI managed competitions to meet the challenges of developing smart sustainable plastic packaging. 

UK Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said: “Finding innovative solutions to tackle our use of harmful plastics which blight our land and seas is a major global challenge, and opportunity – one our nation of researchers and innovators is fit to seize. 

“Today’s funding and sector strategy enhances our position as a global leader on improving our environment and tackling climate change. It will make us a beacon for design, manufacturing and exporting of sustainable plastics and environmentally-friendly replacements for polluting products as we move to a greener, cleaner economy – a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy.”

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