The government has announced the launch of a new £60m investment scheme to help businesses develop technology aimed at reducing plastic and food waste.

The new government funding, announced by energy minister Claire Perry, is designed to help develop new forms of packaging and plastic, made from farming, food and industrial waste, like sugar beet, wood chippings and food waste.

The funding, which is being delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, could also help deliver innovations such as smart packaging labels and a ‘live’ sell-by-date patch - a living sell-by-date which deteriorates at the same rate as produce to show consumers when their food is going off – as well as increase use of single use plastics in new products.

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

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.”