A new research project to tackle the issue of ‘hard-to-recycle’ plastics has been backed by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
The Brunel University London project is one of 10 university-led research programmes that will receive £8 million in funding from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.
The investment is part of the Enabling Research competition in the Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge (SSPP). It aims to help tackle plastic waste in the UK.
Brunel’s project will address the problem of ‘hard-to-recycle’ plastic packaging and aims to create new management of waste streams, so high value, ‘food grade’ materials and non-food grade plastics are kept separate.
Other winning projects
University of Strathclyde
The project aims to optimise the use of compostable plastics for multiple food packaging applications. This will reduce the reliance on plastic and encourage reusing plastics as much as possible while keeping food fresh and hygienic.
The University of Manchester
The One Bin to Rule Them All project aims to improve compliance with recycling through a systemic approach to plastic waste management. The project aims to demonstrate a viable system to reduce and then eliminate plastic released in the environment. It will do this by creating value in plastic packaging waste streams and simplifying recycling for consumers.
University College London
This project will investigate how compostable plastics are currently being used and seek to map out how these plastics can be introduced and integrated into existing waste management infrastructure.
This project will research circular business models that combine smart technology enabled products and services to reduce the environmental, societal, and economic impact of takeaway food packaging.
City, University of London
This research project will expand and enhance the Household Simulation Model to focus on plastic food packaging to help manufacturers provide the right type of packaging to reduce both food and plastic waste.
University of Sheffield
This project will explore reusable packaging systems that have the potential to reduce the environmental impact of single-use plastic packaging by keeping packaging material in circulation for as long as possible.
University of Lancaster
The Plastic Packaging in Peoples’ Lives project aims to fundamentally shift behaviours around food plastic packaging. Focusing on how plastic packaging is embedded in consumers’ lives, the project will undertake a holistic examination of the packaging supply chain to close the attitude-behaviours gap in consumers’ approaches to plastic use and waste.
The University of Liverpool
This project aims to understand how the single-use plastic used for milk jugs, shampoo bottles, and piping changes during recycling. The project uses this knowledge to improve the post-consumer recycled plastic journey, blending them with virgin plastics to make new packaging. This change will result in less plastic waste, increased sustainability and less harm to the environment.
University of Cambridge
The Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging from Plants project will research into changing the genetic code of plants or blend with other materials from food or agricultural waste. The aim is to engineer materials with new functional properties, such as improved strength or better protection, reducing the volume of plastic packaging needed to keep food fresh.
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