Waitrose & Partners has launched a £1 million grant fund for projects designed to reduce unnecessary plastic and tackle plastic pollution.
Launched today (28 January), 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 and grants will range from £150,000 to £300,000.
Applications for Plan Plastic are open until 24 February and the fund is open to a range of organisations 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 website. An independent expert panel made up of representatives from academia, industry, non-governmental organisations, business and a senior Waitrose Partner, will review the submissions in April with the chosen grantees to be announced in May.
Tor Harris, Head of CSR, Health & Agriculture for Waitrose & Partners, said:
“We hope the fund will help find new and effective ways of accelerating action to rethink how 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 has also committed to removing all 5p plastic bags from its shops by March 2019 and replacing loose fruit and vegetable bags with a home compostable alternative by spring 2020. By doing this it estimates that it will cut almost 134 million bags each year from the environment, equating to 500 tonnes of plastic.
Waitrose & Partners has pledged too not to sell any own-label products in black plastic packaging beyond 2019 and has hit its target to remove black plastic on its fresh meat, fish, poultry, fruit and veg. It has committed to making all its own-label packaging widely recyclable, reusable or home compostable by 2023.