Science

£25 million scheme backs innovative tech to cut plastic pollution

Sky Ocean Ventures will support alternatives to plastic packaging and fibres as part of solutions to help ‘turn off the plastics tap'.

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Sky has committed £25 million to an investment scheme to support new ideas and businesses that tackle the problem of plastic pollution in the oceans.

The company is backing solutions such as alternatives to plastic bottles and bags, different materials to synthetic clothing fibres which can end up polluting the seas, and technologies to help people recycle at home.

Sky, which has run a campaign highlighting the impact of plastic pollution in the world’s seas where it harms wildlife, says it hopes to scale investment up with the support of other companies to £100 million.

The launch of the Sky Ocean Ventures scheme comes amid growing concern over the issue of plastic in the ocean, which experts recently warned was set to treble in 10 years to 2025 without action to curb the problem.

Sky also announced it would be launching an “innovators in residence” project that would allow businesses the opportunity to pilot and test their products at its London campus.

The first company taking up the residency is Skipping Rocks Lab, a start-up which is pioneering the use of natural materials made from plants and seaweeds to reduce plastic packaging.

The products it will be testing include juice and water which comes in biodegradable seaweed orbs, as well as sauce and condiment containers.

Jeremy Darroch, Sky’s group chief executive, said: “We think it’s time businesses stop dumping harmful plastic in to the sea and instead start pumping more money into innovation.

“Sky Ocean Ventures is a bold new creation that will support breakthrough thinking and invest in promising new ideas that will help turn off the plastics tap.

“We look forward to working with other like-minded organisations who can help us find and support innovators who are developing products, materials and business models that will create meaningful change.”

The move was welcomed by Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who has confirmed the Government will push ahead with a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles and other drinks containers to encourage more recycling.

He said: “I look forward to seeing how innovation and creativity can help to turn the tide on plastic waste.”

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