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Funding our future by improving plastic recycling

By April 19, 2020January 6th, 2021No Comments

In the past few years, a plethora of funding opportunities have become available to improve plastic recycling and reduce our impact on the environment. Such initiatives are welcome as hope and raw ambition alone will not suffice to solve the issues at hand. 

In order to speed up packaging innovations and improve recycling infrastructure, significant global investment and funding is needed. These cash injections are a vital lifeline for both start-ups and established businesses looking to develop or expand on their ventures. The Ellen McArthur Foundation, the New Plastics Economy and UK Research and Innovation are just a few organisations committed to expanding and improving the global recycling system through such measures.  

Uniting over 400 organisations The New Plastics Economy Initiative’s goal is to increase the recyclability and recycled content in packaging. With 5 investments committing up to $200 million in 2019, successful achievements include:  

  • An increase of 23% recycled content in packaging across all members of the New Plastics Economy Initiative between 2017-2018.  
  • In Brazil, Coca-Cola invested $25 million to design reusable plastic bottles, on top of $400 million to expand the infrastructure of reusing plastic packaging and plastic products.  
  • A double in sales of reusable and refillable plastic containers by packaging producer Amcor.   

Another highlight includes the $2 Million New Plastics Economy Innovation Prize, launched by the Ellen McArthur Foundation in 2017. This prize funds successful, innovative designs that help us rethink the way in which we make and re-use plastics. One of the winners, Aronax Technologies Spain, received funding to invent a recyclable magnetic coating to replace multi-layered packaging. The innovative design eases packaging separation, making the recycling process more efficient.  

For businesses interested in applying for funding, the Sea the Future project by the Minderoo Foundation is one to look out for. Sea the Future is a global initiative which funds projects around global recycling, collection and sustainable models of recycling. The goal of the programme is to make recycled plastic a cheaper alternative, drive collection efforts and relieve poverty through effective recycling. Predicted to raise $20 billion annually, it is backed by businesses such as Amcor, Coca-Cola and Walmart Inc. The future of this project will signify the potential of the recycled market in years to come. 

Overall, funding and investment for plastic recycling is on the rise. These opportunities provide businesses and start-ups the chance to innovate and develop more sustainable products and infrastructure. The reality is that financial investments play a critical role in reducing our impact on the environment – we cannot rely solely on hope and raw ambition.