Defra has announced the allocation of a £450,000 Litter Innovation Fund for community projects that tackle the problem of litter; about 10% will be dedicated to reducing the amount of plastic entering our oceans.
Local authorities, community groups, charities, educational institutions, and small and medium enterprises may apply for funding towards innovative and creative solutions to the problem. These range from better positioning of bins and recycling points, based on behavioural research, to digital technology.
Information for applicants to the Litter Innovation Fund can be found on the website of WRAP, the NGO dedicated to “getting the right people working together, then converting ideas into action and delivery on the ground” to find sustainable solutions to problems of making, packaging, supplying and disposing of consumer products.
Around £45,000 of the fund will be exclusively dedicated to projects designed to help prevent the amount of plastic entering our oceans, including aquatic littering, which requires efforts both to reduce the amount of litter entering the sea and to remove litter that is already there.
The Litter Innovation Fund supports the UK Government’s wider Litter Strategy for England which notes:
- The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) 2016 Great British Beach Clean demonstrated the success of the 5p plastic bag charge by recording a 40% decrease in bags found on beaches, the lowest number collected in the last ten years.
- Water companies in England are investing over £2 billion between 2015 and 2020 to improve sewerage infrastructure in order to increase the proportion of debris that is caught by their filters.
- Manufacturers and suppliers are being encouraged to provide customers with better guidance on disposal of non‐biodegradable wet wipes and personal care items in the correct manner to reduce the amount getting into the sewer system.
- In September 2016 Defra announced the intention to ban the manufacture and sale of cosmetics and personal care products containing microbeads which may harm the marine environment, and is currently considering consultation responses.
The Defra Litter Strategy also commends “Fishing for Litter”. This initiative provides fishing vessels with free large bags so that fishermen can collect any rubbish caught in their nets and return it to port for collection and regulated disposal.
European Maritime and Fisheries (EMFF) funding is available for projects to support the collection of waste by fishermen, including funding for equipment; schemes for waste collection; and training.
Defra also notes that in Autumn 2016, the Chancellor of the Exchequer provided a guarantee that all EMFF projects approved before we leave the EU will receive funding.
WRAP’s website: http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/litter-innovation-fund
UK Government’s Litter Strategy for England: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/630999/litter-strategy-for-england-2017-v2.pdf
“Fishing for Litter” website: http://www.fishingforlitter.org.uk/