ISCF: Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging

Posted on: 08/08/2019

Find out more information on the recently announced Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge.

Part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Wave 3, this Challenge will develop a new generation of advanced and sustainable plastic packaging to reduce single-use plastics, increase recyclability and the amount of plastic packaging that is recycled and ultimately reduce the amount of plastic waste entering the environment.


Government is prepared to invest up to £60 million in this Challenge from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, with additional funding of up to £149 million from industry. The Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge aims to establish the UK as a leading innovator in sustainable plastic packaging for consumer products, delivering cleaner growth across the supply chain, with a dramatic reduction in plastic waste entering the environment by 2025.


The SSPP Challenge will cover the following to potentially be funded: new, recyclable materials; mew designs for consumer-friendly packaging, with improved functionality and sustainability; new/improved recycling technologies and processes to recover packaging after its use; and improved understanding of the environmental impacts of existing and new plastics. Through this Challenge, new packaging and plastic innovations created from plants, wood chippings and food waste could come into fruition and into commercialisation by 2025. The funding from the competition could be used by organisations to find ways to minimise waste in the supply chain, as well as to create new recyclable materials – for example, this could see the use of plants in place of oils in the plastic production process, which in turn reduces organisations’ carbon impact.


The Challenge forms part of the Government’s Clean Growth Challenge, which is a key component of the modern Industrial Strategy. It follows the Government’s ambition for the UK to become the first major economy to legislate to end its contribution to global warming by 2050.  The importance of this challenge is paramount, coming at a time when media and public scrutiny over corporations’ environmental footprint has never been greater. At present 80 million tonnes of plastic packaging is produced annually with up to 12 million tonnes of plastic entering our oceans every year, emphasising this need for imminent practical solutions. Eliminating the damage caused by single-use plastics is vital to safeguarding our planet for future generations.


There have been some fantastic innovations in this area of late, some of which were showcased at the KTN House of Lords Reception event on 25th June, and additionally discussed during the “Designing a Circular Economy” event at New Designers 2019. For instance, Skipping Rocks Lab received funding through the government’s Industrial Strategy for their new packaging made from Notpla, a material created from seaweed and plants.


UK Circular Plastics Network is actively promoting this competition to its community. To find out more information on the work of UKCPN and to become a member please click here.


To find out more on this challenge please click here.

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