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Waitrose & Partners launches £1m initiative to tackle plastic pollution

Monday 04 February 2019

Waitrose & Partners launches £1m initiative to tackle plastic pollution
Waitrose & Partners will today launch a £1 million grant fund to give money to projects designed to reduce unnecessary plastic and tackle plastic pollution.

Plan Plastic - The Million Pound Challenge will award money, over one year, to projects that can demonstrate an impact on plastic pollution now and in the future. The retailer is partnering with environmental charity Hubbub to support the chosen projects and measure the impact of the grants.   

The £1 million fund has been raised from the sale of 5p carrier bags (sold in UK stores) and grants will range from £150,000 to £300,000. 

Applications for Plan Plastic are open until 24thFebruary and will be welcomed from a range of organisations from the UK and Channel Islands including charities, academic bodies, social enterprises, and schools & colleges, across the following project areas:

  • Plastics in the community– projects encouraging and enabling plastic recycling and the circular economy linked to social impact, for example, promoting wellbeing in the community.
  • Education – campaigns aimed at children and young people to raise awareness and change behaviour to reduce plastic pollution.
  • Public behaviour change– projects inspiring and enabling new ways of shopping and consuming.
  • Food, agriculture and farming – projects focusing on finding alternatives, reducing use, and increasing reuse of plastics in the food, agriculture and farming industries.
  • Micro plastics– projects aimed at identifying the impact, reducing the prevalence and preventing micro plastic pollution.

Organisations can apply via the Plan Plastic - The Million Pound Challenge website at www.planplasticfund.com

An independent expert panel made up of representatives from academia, industry, non-governmental organisations, business and a senior Waitrose Partner, will convene in April to review the submissions. The chosen grantees will be announced in May 2019. 

Tor Harris, Head of CSR, Health & Agriculture for Waitrose & Partners, said: “We hope thefund will help find new and effective ways of accelerating action to rethinkhow we all use and dispose of plastic - now and in the future. We take this issue very seriously, and are making progress all the time, but we’re determined to maintain our momentum as well as supporting others to do the same.”

Trewin Restorick, CEO and Founder, Hubbub said: “Waitrose’s new grant fund is tremendously exciting as it will support innovative thinking on how to combat the issue of plastic pollution. We’ll be on the lookout for entries that really demonstrate a tangible impact and that will have a longer-term legacy beyond the grant funding stage.  We’d encourage any eligible organisation working in this space to apply via the website.”

Waitrose & Partners is passionate about reducing its impact on the environment and the amount of plastic waste it creates. The retailer has committed to removing all 5p plastic bags from its shops by March 2019 and has already removed from all the Channel Island shops. Waitrose & Partners will also replace loose fruit and vegetable bags with a home compostable alternative by spring 2019. By doing this it will cut almost 134 million bags each year from the environment, which equates to 500 tonnes of plastic. 

Waitrose & Partners has also pledged not to sell any own-label products in black plastic packaging beyond 2019 and has already hit its target to remove black plastic on its fresh meat, fish, poultry, fruit and veg. Waitrose is committed to making all its own-label packaging widely recyclable, reusable or home compostable by 2023.

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