UKRI establishes US$1.4M to explore plastic pollution solutions in Kenya and other countries

KENYA – UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and WRAP have established a US$1.4 million project to assist six initiatives in Kenya, South Africa, India and Chile.

The project is targeted at solving difficult-to-recycle plastics, growing reusable packaging, and introducing innovative business models in each respective country.

The competition “is providing targeted support for innovation that addresses ‘live’ problems in the fight against plastic packaging waste and pollution,” explains UKRI’s Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging (SSPP) Challenge Director Paul Davidson, as reported by PackagingInsights.

UKRI and the SSPP challenge have previously supported the formation of plastic pacts in each of the four nations with the goal of decreasing plastic packaging waste.

This current round of funding will assist in fulfilling these pacts’ waste reduction objectives by supporting technical innovation in areas such as films and flexible packaging, reusable packaging, innovative business models, and end market development.

The collaboration understands the urgent need for swift, focused, and coordinated action. It is connected with the goals of the United Nations’ worldwide resolution to prevent plastic pollution.

The program will focus on Asia, Africa, and Latin America to solve hard-to-recycle plastics and grow reusable packaging.

Davidson adds that “driving change on the scale that is needed, requires sustained and shared innovation across the globe.”

In line with this, it will serve as a catalyst for collaboration, bringing together innovators, investors, important industry stakeholders, relevant plastic pact signatories, and in-country networks with a focus on Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

The initiative is part of a larger worldwide collaborative effort involving the Innovate UK Global Team, WRAP, and the SSPP challenge.

As part of the Kenyan Plastics Pact, TrueCircle Technologies, an AI-driven recycling firm, will use its experience in artificial intelligence to provide formal integration, market and pricing transparency, and fair trade practices to the Kenyan waste industry.

The South African Plastics Pact will work with the NGO WasteAid UK, which will conduct a feasibility study and pilot project in the province of Mpumalanga.

To close the loop on plastic packaging, this study will take an all-inclusive, whole-system strategy.

Meanwhile, the Plastics Pact in India supports the proof of Interface Polymers’ validity, particularly its recycling additive technology, which allows multilayer films and mixed plastic streams to be efficiently recycled into new products.

The Chile Plastics Pact will promote Notpla’s growth and expansion. Notpla is a heat-sealable film made from seaweed that may be used as an alternative to flexible plastic films for single-use sachets.

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