Hubbub and Starbucks unveil winners of over £1m sustainable packaging fund

Testing takeaway reusable

Environmental charity Hubbub and Starbucks have announced the winners of the £1 million Bring It Back Fund, which was created to fund “innovative” new solutions and systems for sustainable packaging in the food and beverage industry.

Following an application process which launched in May, the Bring It Back Fund has increased to £1.4 million to ensure six reuse solutions can be piloted across the UK with the first project launching in the next few months to trial solutions to reduce single-use food and beverage packaging.

From all-female tech start-ups to environmental charities, reuse trials across the UK include city-wide returnable takeaway packaging, electronic tagging of reusable alternatives and doorstep packaging collection.

Hubbub and Starbucks say each pilot project will tackle a different way to test and learn how to shift people’s habits to use alternatives to single-use packaging through behaviour-change incentives, research projects, new technology, the expansion of existing successful reuse systems, or the development of new service models.

We set out to find innovators with pioneering new approaches to challenge single-use packaging in the food and drink sector.

The six pilots include removing single-use packaging from a street food market in London, “the first of its kind in the UK”; trialling behaviour change initiatives within diverse communities in Peterborough, such as a loyalty programme, and trialling a coffee cup reuse system with tourists for the first time in a rural area of Scotland.

The fund is supported by Starbucks 5p cup charge which is applied when a customer chooses to use a single-use paper cup. Introduced voluntarily in 2018, Starbucks says it has donated all funds to Hubbub to support sustainability efforts and waste reduction.

bring it back fundStarbucks and Hubbub say the development of the Bring It Back Fund was informed by the companies’ ongoing initiatives to drive the uptake of reuse, including the Cup, Cup and Away campaign at Gatwick Airport, with further insights from recent polling of UK adults to identify some of the most common barriers to reuse.

The two organisations say the research showed there is a clear appetite from the public to cut down on single-use plastics, with 41% of people more worried about how much single-use plastic is used in society since the pandemic started and 67% saying they want to reduce the amount of single-use packaging they use when buying food and drink products.

Director and Co-founder of Hubbub, Gavin Ellis, said: “With the Bring It Back Fund, we set out to find innovators with pioneering new approaches to challenge single-use packaging in the food and drink sector.

“The winning projects offer a strong mix of innovative solutions, from brand new reuse system trials to behaviour change research and funding developments in technology. With this funding, we will be able to test and learn from real-world trials and hopefully demonstrate that reuse systems are safe and easy to use, and can benefit the food and drink industry, consumers and the environment.”

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