Designing sustainable plastic solutions

Posted on: 20/04/2020

Innovate UK competition looking for ideas to transform goods and services to reduce the amount of plastic waste entering our environment.



The amount of global plastic waste last year was a staggering 275 million tonnes. As individuals, business and the UK government, we all need to work together to change goods and services that ultimately reduce the amount of plastic waste entering our environment.


Innovate UK are launching the new design-led Sustainability in Plastics Design competition at the start of June 2020.

You can view the full details from the briefing webinar recording here.


Your business may be eligible for this grant because it is aimed at a broad range of sectors covering Packaging, Building and Construction, Automotive Transport, Electrical and Electronics, Agriculture, Household/Leisure/Sport and Medical.

The purpose of the grant is to help your business to work with a design partner and/or inhouse design resource to stimulate innovation towards reducing persistent plastic waste from entering the environment or going to landfill.


By understanding individuals’ needs and behaviours resulting in the re-design of goods and services for a new end use or new market, the amount of plastic waste entering our environment will reduce.

As part of this challenge, businesses are encouraged to identify a new or existing design partner to help them better understand people’s needs and human behaviour, rethink the design of goods and services and carry out iterative user testing to develop new innovative ways of reducing plastic waste. The design thinking within this competition could include (but is not limited to) contributions from engineering, materials science, service design, circular design and systems thinking.


Innovate UK are looking for exciting, innovative B2B (Business to Business) or B2C (Business to Consumer) applications focused on;

  • Reuse
  • Servitisation
  • Product life-extension approaches (rather than recycling)
  • Design and investigation of new business models
  • Ideas that drive behaviour change.


All projects must demonstrate where business revenue generation and growth will occur. Funded projects will be asked to participate in an exhibition at the end of the competition to showcase their outputs.


The Sustainability in Plastics Design competition is part of the £20m Plastics Research Innovation Fund announced in the March 2018 budget.

Share this article


Connect with Innovate UK Business Connect

Join Innovate UK Business Connect's mailing list to receive updates on funding opportunities, events and to access Innovate UK Business Connect's deep expertise. Please check your email to confirm your subscription and select your area(s) of interest.