Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £7 million from the Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Programme in innovation projects.

These projects must have the potential to significantly impact the 2025 UK Plastics Pact targets in the long term, and address widely known problems related to plastic packaging for consumer products.

Your proposal must:

  • improve the sustainability of the plastic packaging supply chain
  • make a significant contribution towards delivering the targets of the UK Plastics Pact
  • utilise at-scale innovation in design, technology, processes, business models, supply chains or data for plastic packaging
  • embed a whole systems approach to plastic packaging sustainability, considering environmental, economic, and social factors

Your project must:

  • claim a grant between £200,000 and £4 million
  • start in early 2022
  • end by 31 March 2025
  • last between 12 and 36 months

If your project’s total eligible costs or duration falls outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to support@innovateuk.ukri.org at least 10 working days before the competition closes and they will decide whether to approve the request.

To lead a project or work alone your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Your business may collaborate with any UK registered business, academic institution, charity, not-for-profit, public sector organisation, research organisation, or research and technology organisation (RTO).

A business can only lead on one application but can be included as a collaborator in a further 2 applications. If a business is not leading any application, it can collaborate in up to 3 applications. An academic institution, charity, not-for-profit, public sector organisation, research organisation, or RTO can collaborate on any number of applications.

This competition will fund ambitious R&D projects with the potential to significantly impact the 2025 UK Plastic Pact targets and address widely known problems related to plastic packaging for consumer products.

Your project must primarily address one or more of the UK Plastics Pact targets.

The benefits of your new approach must be quantified in terms of the Pact targets and by comparison to the current system or dominant solutions.

Any environmental impacts must be described and justified.

We want to fund a portfolio of projects, addressing the four UK Plastics Pact targets, across a variety of technologies and markets.

Your project can focus on one or more of the following:

  • the minimising or reduction of plastic packaging
  • packaging suitable for reuse, refill and online delivery
  • sustainable solutions for film and flexibles
  • food grade recycled polypropylene and polyethylene
  • behaviour change leading to less packaging waste or higher recycling rates
  • solutions which address the UK Plastics Pact target for problematic or unnecessary single use plastic packaging items

This list is not intended to be exhaustive; we are particularly interested in ambitious projects.

KTN will hold an online briefing event on 7th June 2021: click here to register for a place.

KTN can also advise on putting an application together. SSPP recommends that applicants discuss their proposal with KTN well in advance of the closing date.