Plastic-eating fungi and technology to prevent fishing nets from being lost at sea are among the projects that Waitrose says are making “a real difference in the fight against plastic pollution”.
The progress of five projects is new report published today (April 1st) detailing the “positive impact on the environment” Waitrose says they have made.
Plan Plastic – The Million Pound Challenge was launched in 2019 and aims to support projects that fight plastic pollution or get people to rethink their use and disposal of plastic with the aim of achieving “real impact and lasting impact”.
The £ 1 million fund, which came from the sale of 5 pence tote bags, has been used to provide grants between £ 150,000 and £ 300,000.
It is important that we continue to eliminate single-use plastics in our business, but also support the advancement of other organizations around the world.
The environmental organization Hubbub worked with the supermarket to support the five selected projects and to measure the impact of their work.
Marija Rompani, Partner and Director of Ethics and Sustainability at Waitrose, said: “It is important that we continue to eliminate single-use plastics in our business, but also support the advancement of other organizations around the world.
“All of these inspiring projects have demonstrated their ability to have a real impact in addressing environmental problems and promoting behavior change. Greater action is now needed to make a significant difference in our collective fight against plastic pollution. “
MUSSEL POWER – Plymouth Marine Laboratory demonstrated the potential of mussels to contain the flow of microplastics from polluted estuaries and coastal waters, paving the way for the use of this nature-based solution and for further research into nature-based solutions to the problem of microplastics.
COMMUNITY BIO-RECYCLING – Onion collective and Biohm created a bio-recycling facility to study the mycelium (the root structure of fungi) to break down and digest plastic. The new bio-recycling facility also created jobs and helped refurbish an old paper mill in Watchet.
ENVIROMENSTRUAL – Wen (women’s environmental network) and City to Sea Taboo-breaking training provided to thousands of students, including training 724 teachers and nurses to hold workshops on the social and environmental issues of menstruation; while at the same time raising awareness of sustainable products.
SAFEGEAR – Blue Marine Foundation developed an inexpensive beacon for fishermen to prevent fishing gear from becoming plastic pollution of the marine environment. The Blue Marine Foundation has now tested over 100 beacons at sea with fishermen in the south west of England, which has proven to be an easy-to-use solution for ghost gear.
MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE – Youth Hostels Association The need for half a million single-use plastic bottles a year has been eliminated by providing publicly accessible water fountains so that anyone who enjoys the outdoors can refill their bottles. This is expected to make a real difference if Covid restrictions can be relaxed.
Saskia Restorick, a director at Hubbub, said:: “The response to the Waitrose Plan Plastic Fund has been overwhelming. It is so encouraging to see how many people are trying to make a real difference in reducing plastic pollution in the UK. It has been amazing to see how the five selected projects have developed over the past year, and we firmly believe that the impact they can have will go a long way in tackling plastic pollution.
“Every project has a long-term legacy beyond the grant fund and it was a privilege to have been part of the start of this journey. We wish you the best of luck in further expanding your projects. “
The winners were selected by a panel of experts made up of representatives from science, industry, non-governmental organizations and companies. 150 projects were requested for the fund, eight were selected to be presented to the panel, and five organizations received grants.