Posted: Fri 20th May 2022
Environmental charity Hubbub and coffee shop chain Starbucks has launched a £1 million competition for ideas that make it easier for customers to use alternatives to single-use packaging.
The Bring It Back Fund will provide funding of between £100,000 and £300,000 for up to five projects that promote behaviour change, undertake new research, expand an existing approach or try something new.
Consumer attitudes towards reusable packaging
Single-use plastic is one of the biggest sustainability challenges facing the planet. An estimated 4.9 million metric tons of plastics are placed on the market in the UK each year, of which three-quarters become waste.
Globally, around eight million pieces of plastic pollution end up in our oceans every day, leading to the deaths of 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and one million sea birds annually.
The Bring It Back Fund is looking for ideas that encourage more people to embrace reusable packaging when buying food and drink products.
New research commissioned by Hubbub found 41% of consumers are more worried about how much single-use plastic is used than they were before the coronavirus pandemic.
Another 67% say they want to reduce the amount of single-use food and drink packaging they use, with 64% open to borrowing a reusable cup for a takeaway drink and then returning it.
However, common barriers exist. More that two thirds of respondents said they believe reusable cups might not be clean or hygienic, 31% said it might cost more and 28% complained they are inconvenient to carry or store.
The charity said reuse and refill has also been set back by the pandemic. One in five people are worried about catching COVID-19 from reusable cups and cutlery despite reassurance from scientists that the containers do not increase the chance of virus transmission.
Gavin Ellis, director of Hubbub, said:
"We have all seen so much more single-use plastic in our everyday lives over the last couple of years that I think many people have become desensitised to it – it's become the norm. We urgently have to tackle this major environmental problem and it's crucial that we reassure the public that reusables – which are the main solution to this issue – are safe and easy to use and can save you money in the long-term.
"We're looking for innovators with pioneering new approaches to challenge single-use packaging in the food and drink sector. If you feel you have a solution to support reusable packaging systems for food and drink products, and remove barriers for users and businesses, we want to hear about it."
Applications for the funding are open until 5pm on 24 June. Projects will be judged by a panel of independent experts on the circular economy, sustainable packaging and behaviour change as well as representatives of Starbucks. You can find more information about the Bring It Back Fund and how to apply at www.bringitbackfund.co.uk.
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