A new £1 million ‘Bring It Back Fund’, launched by Hubbub in partnership with Starbucks, aims to increase the uptake of reusable packaging in the food and drink industry. The fund is seeking innovative ideas that make it easier for customers to use alternatives to single-use packaging.  

The ‘Bring It Back Fund’ will support pilot projects that help shift people’s habits. Successful applicants could promote behaviour change, undertake new research, expand an existing approach or try something completely new including tech fixes. Up to five projects will each receive grants of between £150,000-£300,000 for a year. Applications open on 11th May 2022 and close on 24th June 2022.  

Development of the ‘Bring It Back Fund’ has been informed by Starbucks and Hubbub’s ongoing initiatives to drive the uptake of reuse, including the ‘Cup, Cup and Away’ campaign at Gatwick Airport and ‘Grab Your Cup’ in Manchester. 

Understanding barriers and appetite to help shift people’s habits

Further insight comes from new polling commissioned by Hubbub. This identified some of the most common barriers to reuse including misconceptions that it might not be clean or hygienic (38%), might cost more (31%) or is inconvenient to carry or store (28%). Separate polling we conducted in 2019 showed over a third of people (36%) don’t use a reusable simply because they forget their cup.

Alongside these ongoing challenges, reuse and refill has been set back by the pandemic, with 1 in 5 people worried about catching Covid from reusable cups and cutlery. This is despite reassurance from scientists across the world that reusable containers do not increase the chance of virus transmission and are safe to use. 

The polling revealed that there is a clear appetite from the public to cut down on single-use plastics. 41% of respondents stated that they are now more worried about how much single-use plastic is used than they were pre-Covid. 67% say they want to reduce the amount of single-use packaging they use when buying food and drink products whilst 64% said they’d be open to borrow a reusable cup for a takeaway drink from a café or bar and then return it. The latter is something that Starbucks is trialling in London, Paris and Geneva this year. 

The ‘Bring it Back Fund’ is the fifth significant sustainability grant fund launched by Hubbub. Together these funds have made £4.6 million available, investing in a range of ground-breaking approaches seeking to boost the circular economy, tackle plastic pollution, reduce e-waste and promote recycling.

A critical time to invest in new solutions

Hubbub believes that the launch of the fund is timely. The amount of single-use plastics has grown significantly as a result of Covid, and public concern is not at the same high level as it was immediately after David Attenborough’s Blue Planet series. The fund will provide new impetus in tackling this significant environmental challenge by investing in new solutions designed to make it as convenient as possible for people to shift to reusable packaging.

Talking about the launch of the fund Alex Rayner, General Manager, Starbucks UK said:

“We’re proud of our continued partnership with Hubbub and the launch of the Bring It Back Fund marks our next milestone together as we continue to explore new ways to inspire and encourage customers to reuse.

As we work to make reusability the only option, long-term the fund will provide solutions that will benefit the entire food and beverage industry. The launch of the fund will work in conjunction with Starbucks existing reusables work, including the 25p reusable cup discount, 5p cup charge, in-store recycling, and new returnable cup program, to advance widespread adoption of reusables as we work to become resource positive and reduce waste by 50 percent by 2030."

Successful projects will be selected by a grant panel, consisting of independent experts on the circular economy, sustainable packaging and behaviour change, as well as senior representatives from Starbucks.

Find out more about how to apply:

More information about the Bring It Back Fund and how to apply can be found at www.bringitbackfund.co.uk

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