Why we launched Plan Plastic: The million Pound Challenge
The Waitrose & Partners Plan Plastic: The Million Pound Challenge aims to cut plastic pollution in the UK, reducing the amount of unnecessary plastic used and by tackling littered plastic. Our fund will give grants between £150,000 to £300,000 to innovative projects that rethink how we all use and dispose of plastic. We’re looking for a small number of projects to support over one year, starting in April 2019. Projects will be selected by a Grant Panel, made up of independent experts on plastics, grant making, social enterprise and a senior representative from Waitrose & Partners.
We would like to fund projects which will have a significant measurable impact on plastic pollution (now or in the future), and a clear legacy, and we will openly share all learnings, results and outputs to enable others to build on, replicate and amplify the impact. We’re working in partnership with environmental charity Hubbub to administer the grant.
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Since Blue Planet II aired in 2017, our customer services team has seen an 800% increase in questions about plastic. The impact of plastics on the environment is a serious concern for both our Partners and customers. We have a commitment to make all own-branded packaging widely-recycled, reusable or home compostable by 2023, and we have a comprehensive plastics plan which sets out our commitment to eliminate unnecessary plastic. This covers our own product packaging, the products we use and sell, our supply chain and support for our customers to prevent plastic waste at home.
But we want to go beyond this and support wider efforts to improve the environment. Our plastics plan also looks at how we’ll support organisations that are tackling plastic pollution through innovation and conservation. And this is where the Plan Plastic grant fund comes in. In 2017/2018 we donated £1 million to the Marine Conservation Society and £500,000 to the Commonwealth Marine Plastics Research and Innovation Challenge Fund. We’re now stepping up our activity in this area to help to fast-track solutions for all, using the money from the sale of 5p carrier bags to create a £1 million grant fund.