UK – The UK government has unveiled US$76.4 million funding, a sustainability initiative that will turn food scraps into environmentally-friendly packaging for bags and cups.

This is part of the UK government’s plan to lead the world in the development of sustainable packaging by reducing the harmful impact of plastics on the environment.

The new funding, to be delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, also seeks to develop smart labels on packaging which could end confusion over what rubbish goes in which recycling bin.

This will provide sustainable packaging with clear sell-by-date, leading the way to greener and cleaner economies.

The whole initiative looks to develop new forms of packaging and plastic made from farming, food and industrial waste; smart packaging labels; “Live” sell-by-date patch and reducing single-use plastics.

This investment is subject to industry entering into partnership with government and providing significant co-investment.

“Finding innovative solutions to tackle our use of harmful plastics which blight our land and seas is a major global challenge, and opportunity, one our nation of researchers and innovators is fit to seize.

“Today’s funding and sector strategy enhances our position as a global leader on improving our environment and tackling climate change.

It will make us a beacon for design, manufacturing and exporting of sustainable plastics and environmentally friendly replacements for polluting products as we move to a greener, cleaner economy,” said UK energy and clean growth minister Claire Perry.

The UK launched the modern Industrial Strategy a year ago, the government’s long-term plan for preparing and investing in post-Brexit economy.

In October this year, the UK government announced that it will introduce a new taxon single-use plastics, with the implementation set for 2022 to tackle plastic waste in the country.

It also unveiled plans to ban the distribution and sale of plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds in England.

UK is not the only country that is putting sustainability at the centre of economic development.

Such initiatives are seen across England and the US, all setting up ambitious reduction targets.