The UK, working with other Commonwealth countries, will launch a research and innovation hub for experts to develop solutions to stop plastic waste from entering our oceans and find environmentally-friendly alternatives to plastic, according to the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
India, Canada and other Commonwealth nations have already signed up to be part of the new Marine Plastics Research and Innovation Framework – a hub where researchers will be able to connect and collaborate on the latest research and innovations to tackle marine plastics.
The UK will play a leading role in designing and running the Framework, encouraging the world to move towards clean growth through the government’s modern Industry Strategy. An international steering board will oversee the work.
The Prime Minister announced that the UK would contribute £ 25 million to the Framework during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.
So far, Unilever has committed £5 million in research and development, while Waitrose has pledged £0.5 million of research.
The British Plastics Federation, which represents more than 500 UK companies, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRiAP), RPC Group Plc and engineering giant Mott MacDonald are among those who have given their support, including access to their facilities, networks and expertise.
Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said:"Plastics are not only polluting our waters, they are contributing to climate change and killing sea life.This £50 million Framework will help develop options for alternative uses to prevent plastics from ending up in our seas. It also ensures that the UK is at the forefront of encouraging the world to move towards clean growth, tackling the threat from marine plastic and protecting our oceans for future generations."
Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Sam Gyimah said:"Plastics are clogging our oceans and threatening our sea life to devastating effect."
"This hub will bring together the brightest minds in UK science and innovation to solve this problem."
Chief Executive Officer of Unilever Paul Polman said:"It is critical that governments, businesses and others from across the Commonwealth work in partnership to step away from our take-make-dispose model of consumption."
"We are delighted to be contributing £5 million worth of research and development to the Framework."
Managing Director of Waitrose Rob Collins said: "With plastic waste one of the great challenges of our time, we strongly support the Commonwealth Summit’s plans and targets to tackle this issue."