Businesses are being invited to apply for a share of £4m to fund plastic waste reduction projects.

The funding, which is provided by UK Research and Innovation, and delivered by Innovate UK, forms part of the £20m Plastics and Research Innovation Fund, launched by the government earlier this year.

The funding competition is seeking ‘circular economy’ approaches to plastic use, such as new recycling processes, innovations that encourage people to change behaviour and reduce plastic waste, the development of new polymer materials or new product designs.

Projects could also look at new business models or at approaches focused on compostable or biodegradable materials.

The competition to win funding opened yesterday (18 June) and the deadline for applications is midday on 8 August.

Projects can be led by a business or a research and technology organisation, but all projects must include an SME. Only an SME can lead projects with costs below £100,000.

Innovate UK said it expected project costs to range between £50,000 and £1m and for projects to last between three and 24 months.

Businesses could attract up to 70% of their project costs.

In 2016, 1.5 million tons of plastic was produced globally. This is set to double by 2034, Innovate UK said.

As recent as 2014, it was found that less than a third of Europe’s plastic waste was recycled, with another third ending up in landfill. The remaining third was sent to energy recovery facilities.

To apply for funding click here