MPs launch £20m fund to ‘make people aware of the danger of plastic’

‘There’s been incredible progress in making people aware of the danger of plastic’: MPs launch £20million fund to support the war on waste

  • A £20million research fund is being funded by the Government over plastic  
  • Ministers want make the public ‘aware of the dangers of plastic’ to the planet
  • Earlier this year, Theresa May proposed a ban on plastic straws and drink stirrers

Ministers will today launch a £20million research fund to create environmentally-friendly alternatives to plastic packaging.

Researchers will work with manufacturers, retailers and councils to come up with innovative new ways to tackle harmful plastic waste.

Examples of projects that could get funding include designing recyclable coffee cups, finding ways for supermarkets to wrap meat and fish without using plastic, and creating non-plastic disposable fizzy drinks bottles.

Science minister Sam Gyimah said: ‘There’s been incredible progress in making people aware of the danger that plastic can do to our environment and our oceans.

‘Today we are announcing a £20million fund for our best scientists and researchers through UKRI [UK Research and Innovation] to come up with new technology and also new plastics that do not harm the environment so much.

‘This means moving from our current model of make, use and dispose to a new model where you use, you reuse and you recycle.’

Plastic bottles washed up on beaches. Discarded rubbish causes major damage to wildlife, while plastic in landfill damages the environment 

UKRI chief executive Professor Sir Mark Walport said: ‘It is imperative we change our use and misuse of plastic.

‘Although plastics have transformed the way we live and play an important role in many aspects of modern life, we are increasingly aware of the devastating damage plastic waste can inflict on the environment and people’s health.

‘This fund will help to create the range of new approaches and alternatives needed to rapidly reverse the impact that our use of plastics is having on the planet.’

Earlier this year, Theresa May proposed a ban on plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds as part of a bid to tackle Britain’s throwaway culture and reduce plastic waste.

The Government has vowed to eliminate avoidable plastic waste by the end of 2042, and has launched a 25-year plan to improve the environment. 

A discarded coca-cola coke soft drink plastic bottle on Llanrhystud beach, Cardigan Bay coast

Ministers want to help the environment by changing the way we receive goods. This could include meat packaging and drinking bottles 

Since introducing the 5p plastic bag charge in 2015, the Government has reduced bag usage by nine billion. It has also legislated to ban plastic microbeads used in cosmetics and cleaning products.

Ministers have claimed that, in the UK alone, the sum of single-use plastics thrown away each year would fill the Royal Albert Hall 1,000 times over – while a recent study revealed 8.5billion plastic straws are disposed of in this country every year.

McDonald’s last week announced it will replace plastic straws with paper ones in all its restaurants in the UK and Ireland from September. The fast-food chain uses 1.8million straws a day in Britain.

The Daily Mail has led calls to end plastic pollution for the past ten years with its Turn the Tide on Plastic campaign, which has highlighted the threat posed to the environment, wildlife and the oceans.

Earlier this year, a 12,000-strong army of volunteers joined the Daily Mail’s Great Plastic Pick Up, an unprecedented three-day drive to clear plastic pollution from our streets, beaches and green spaces. Many tons of plastic were removed in almost 1,100 events across the length and breadth of the country.

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