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Funding to turn the tide on marine plastics: seeking innovative solutions in marine plastics capture, collection and recovery

Blue Planet evoked a highly emotional public response and heightened awareness of the marine plastics problem not only in Scotland, but across the world, starting a tidal movement to stop our use of single use plastics. 


Focusing on just one problem area in Scotland, such as Arrochar, highlights the magnitude of the problem.  Approximately 62,000 items of litter from the Irish Sea and River Clyde end up on Arrochar’s shores every year, known as a  “litter sink.” According to Marine Scotland, this means that Arrochar is estimated to receive around 11% of all the litter entering the Clyde. Removal of plastic is further complicated when litter is mixed with seaweed, creating hundreds of tonnes of debris which is currently sent to landfill, wasting resources.

In Scotland, we are committed to take action on this important issue.  For example, Zero Waste Scotland is tasked with carrying out a Scottish Government commitment to introduce a national deposit return scheme to Scotland.  In doing so, our work to develop the best possible scheme for Scotland aims to improve recycling rates and reduce marine plastics. 

Our vision is for a circular economy, where we eliminate waste by making things last. Re-usable alternatives to single-use items already exist, whether for bags, bottles, cups, straws, or food packaging – but this behaviour change takes time. And so we also must work to tackle the symptoms as well as the cause – and seek solutions to capture, collect and recover marine plastics. 

In partnership with Marine Scotland, we are now inviting grant applications for up to £1 million for projects which have the potential to support innovative technologies and processes that would deal with the capture, collection and processing of marine plastics.  We are seeking innovative and transformational marine plastics solutions which could be implemented in Arrochar and in other Scottish coastal locations. Working with Young Enterprise Scotland, we particularly encourage applications from young entrepreneurs

Types of project which could be eligible for funding:

At this stage, we are seeking expressions of interest for projects which can provide innovative solutions to deal with marine plastics waste streams in the following areas:

  1. Preventing plastics entering the marine environment 
  2. Operational solutions to capture, collect, recover and reprocess marine waste plastics allowing them to be processed for high value recovery

We invite proposals from:

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with projects enabling transformational change in tackling the marine plastics issue.  

Funding may be awarded to projects led by SMEs alone, supported by Scotland's higher education institutes or as the lead business in a larger consortium (including non-SMEs).

How to apply

Eligible organisations are invited to apply for funding.  Should the project have the potential to improve resource efficiency or assist in the creation of a circular economy, it would be eligible for funding support via the £73m Resource Efficient Circular Economy Accelerator Programme, administered by Zero Waste Scotland.  Eligible organisations are small and medium enterprises according to the European Commission definition of fewer than 250 employees and with a turnover below € 50m (further information regarding eligibility can be accessed by clicking here).

Expressions of interest must be submitted by Friday 16th November 2018.

If successful, you will be invited to submit a full application for funding via one of two routes: our Waste Prevention Implementation Fund or our Circular Economy Investment Fund.

Privacy and confidentiality

Information you provide Zero Waste Scotland will be treated in the strictest of confidence and in line with all information regulations, except when we are required to disclose data by law or applicable regulatory requirement, including any disclosure required under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and/or any code or applicable data agreement relating to disclosure and access to information held by public bodiesAdditionally, for this initiative Zero Waste Scotland is required to share all applications received and supporting documentation with our partner Marine Scotland to assess the eligibility of the applications for the fund.  Our privacy policy  explains how we collect and process your personal information for funding and support applications.

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