Three projects which will potentially reduce retail packaging waste that ends up in UK household bins by 41,895 tonnes every year are the latest to have received funding from WRAP and its pioneering £8m Waste Minimisation Innovation Fund.
Contracts with a combined value of £324,584 were recently signed by Compak Packaging, Esterform, and the Soil Association, taking the number of supported projects to ten, since the Innovation Fund’s launch in November 2004.
The Soil Association has been awarded £186,000 for a year-long project to develop new packaging standards that organic products must meet in order to achieve Soil Association Certification.
Pilot projects will be carried out with Duchy Originals, Green & Black's and Sheepdrove Organic Farm to reduce packaging waste at source and show how minimisation can work in practice.
Francis Blake, Standards and Technical Director at the Soil Association, said:
"We are delighted to have been awarded this funding which will enable us to address an area of real concern to us and organic consumers. We have wanted to develop standards for packaging for a number of years."
Esterform has been awarded £104,500 in WRAP funding to assess how PET bottles can be further lightweighted, and the impact that such lightweighting could have on the many millions of PET bottles that are manufactured in the UK.
Previous attempts at lightweighting through change parts on moulds have already led to small, incremental changes. However, WRAP’s funding will help Esterform to take advantage of recent developments in resin and blow moulding technology, which will allow further significant weight savings to be achieved with minimal impact on performance.
The Innovation Fund has also approved £33,700 in funding for Compak Packaging, to support the research and development of a new type of stretchwrap which could reduce the weight of existing stretchwrap by approximately 30 per cent.
Dave Holbourn at Compak Packaging Ltd, said:
"This is a very exciting project for Compak. We are extremely confident that the results of our research will be successful and will ultimately lead to this new product being used within the UK market and possibly on a global scale. With WRAP funding, we are now able to trial the new product and are hoping to be in a position to move to the manufacturing phase later this year should the results prove positive."
WRAP’s Innovation Fund represents a major opportunity for the retail sector to access support to help kick-start new thinking in packaging design. So far, the initiative has received widespread support from within the sector and has funded ten projects with combined funding of £1.6m, and the potential to deliver a reduction of 238,595 tonnes of household waste, assuming they prove to be successful and the findings are taken up across the sector.
A further funding call was announced earlier this month and WRAP’s Innovation Fund Manager, Mike Robey, is keen to see more high quality bids come through in the next round, which closes on September 15:
“We are already supporting some very exciting projects that have the potential to deliver direct and significant reductions in household food and packaging waste levels, but we need more,” he said. “In particular, we are looking for projects that will help us reduce the five million tonnes of household food waste thrown away every year in the U.K. We welcome cutting-edge projects that will push the boundaries of packaging technology beyond their current limits.”