The UK’s science minister Sam Gyimah has announced a £20 million fund to change the way plastics are manufactured and consumed in a bid to tackle the environmental problems caused by plastic waste.

Gyimah said the Plastics Research and Innovation Fund will enable researchers ‘to come up with new technology and also new plastics that do not harm the environment so much’. ‘This means moving from our current model of make, use and dispose to a new model where you use, you reuse and you recycle,’ he added.

The cash will be awarded to scientists by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Natural Environment Research Council and Innovate UK. The fund as a whole will be managed by the body that oversees all research councils, UK Research and Innovation.

It will include £8 million of ‘plastics creativity’ research funding and £10 million for business-led research, along with £2 million to support a new plastics knowledge exchange network.