Funding innovative projects that are tackling plastic pollution

Back in 2019, Waitrose & Partners wanted to use the money from the sale of 5p carrier bags to launch a £1m grant fund to cut plastic pollution in the UK and they asked Hubbub to manage the fund. Waitrose knew that their customers were very concerned by plastic pollution and, going beyond their own efforts to tackle plastic and packaging, they wanted to support other organisations to take action too.

From a pool of 150 applications, and supported by an independent grant panel, we were delighted to find 5 five exciting, varied projects. The projects vary from research, developing new technologies tocommunity engagement, public education and awareness, and simple infrastructure, creating instant impact. Read about these amazing projects below.

The fund has now come to an end, and we’re delighted to present the impact of the five projects and their ongoing legacy.


Read the full impact report for the fund below. 

The five projects 

Blue Marine Foundation: Safegear 

Blue Marine aimed to tackle of the problem of ‘ghost fishing gear’, which causes a huge amount of damage to marine life. They developed a beacon that makes reduces the likelihood of gear being lost, and makes it easier to track and recover gear if it is moved. As well as reducing the amount of ghost gear causing plastic pollution in the ocean, this could help fishermen save thousands on replacing lost gear each year. Find out more about Safe gear

Onion Collective and Biohm:  Community bio-recycling 

Onion Collective wanted to create a new industry to provide jobs and regenerate their home town of Watchet, supported by the local community. They created a visionary partnership, with R&D social enterprise Biohm who are developing an incredible new technology that uses a fungi called Mycelium to ‘digest’ hard-to-recycle plastic and grow into an alternative to more harmful plastic products such as insulation. Find out more about Community bio-recycling 

Plymouth Marine Laboratory: Mussel Power 

PML wanted to explore an ecological way of removing microplastics from polluted estuaries and coastal waters, by harnessing the natural filtering power of mussels: robust shellfish that are known to filter out waterborne microplastics whilst feeding. Find out more about Mussel power.

Women's Environmental Network and City to Sea: Environmenstrual 

This joint project aimed to mainstream more sustainable period products by training ambassadors and educators to deliver workshops and break the taboo around reusable period products. Find out more about Environmenstrual.

Youth Hostel Association: Message in a bottle 

This simple but high-impact project set out to install water refill stations at all YHA’s major youth hostels across England and Wales, removing over 500,000 single use plastic bottles from circulation annually, and enabling people to refill their bottles for free. Find out more about Message in a bottle.
Want to try cutting down on your plastic? Here are some easy tips.