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Supermarket launches £1m initiative to tackle UK plastic pollution

Supermarket Waitrose & Partners has launched 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.

Trewin Restorick, CEO and Founder of 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.

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 24th February and will be welcomed from a range of organisations including charities, academic bodies, social enterprises, and schools & colleges, across project areas ranging from food, agriculture and farming to public behaviour change.

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.

Waitrose & Partners  has committed to removing all 5p plastic bags from its shops by March 2019 and will also replace loose fruit and vegetable bags with a home compostable alternative by spring 2020. By doing this it will cut almost 134 million bags each year from the environment, which equates to 500 tonnes of plastic.

The retailer 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.

Organisations can apply for the grant via the Plan Plastic – The Million Pound Challenge  website at An independent expert panel will convene in April to review the submissions. The chosen grantees will be announced in May 2019.

Photo: Andy Morffew, licensed through Creative Commons