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Waitrose & Partners announce winners of £1 million fund to fight plastic pollution

Waitrose announce winners of £1 million grant fund

Retailer Waitrose & Partners has revealed the projects it will be supporting with its £1 million grant fund, that is designed to help fight plastic pollution. 

Plan Plastics – The Million Pound Challenge will award money, over one year, to projects that can show an impact to reduce plastic. 

Working in partnership with Hubbub, the fund gathered 150 applications, and five organisations have now been chosen to receive a share of the £1 million fund.  

Waitrose environment manager Ben Thomas will be speaking at The Recycling Event on 2 July about how Waitrose is reducing its plastic packaging. Book your place now: https://www.therecyclingevent.com/

The winners are: 

  • Blue Marine Foundation: SAFEGEAR (Plymouth, Devon) – who developed an initiative called SAFEGEAR that aims to stop finishing gear that has been left/lost in the ocean at source by attaching beacons to buoys to make fishing gear visible. It allows fishing vessels to monitor their gear at sea, receive alerts if it starts to move, and contact vessels in the proximity. If the gear is lost due to towing or poor weather, the beacon allows the fishing vessel to track and recover the gear 
  • Onion Collective CIC and Biohm: Community Bio-Recycling (Watchet, Somerset) – created a new plastic biorecycling facility in Somerset that will use mycelium to break down synthetic plastic waste and turn it into new items. The process will eliminate petrochemical plastic while showing a new way of doing business
  • Women’s Environmental Network (WEN): Environmenstrual Plastic Free Periods – aims to bring about a UK revolution in education about health conscious, environmentally-friendly menstrual products. This is a collaborative project between WEN and City to Sea aiming to bring about widespread behavioural change that reduces plastic pollution from period products 
  • Plymouth Marine Laboratory: Mussel Power (Plymouth, Devon) – aims to develop an ecological solution to microplastic pollution where beds or rafts of mussels are deployed in estuaries and coastal sites to filter out microplastics from the water. The project will help determine whether these “bioreefs” will work in the fight against plastic waste 
  • YHA (England & Wales) – its project will see water bottle refill stations installed in 60 major youth hostels across England and Wales, reducing the use of single-use plastic bottles from packed lunches, cafes, bars and vending machines.  

The £1 million fund has been raised from the sale of 5p carrier bags, prior to Waitrose recently removing them from its shops, and the fund will be split between the five winners who will receive funding between £150,000 and £300,000.  

Waitrose & Partners head of corporate social responsibility, health and agriculture Tor Harris said: “It’s important for us to tackle unnecessary plastic both in our shops but also in the wider world. All these inspirational projects have the ability to create real impact in tackling environmental issues and encouraging behaviour change so we can collectively achieve our goal of reducing plastic pollution.”   


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