Waitrose store front

Waitrose has raised the £1m fund from the sale of 5p carrier bags

Waitrose has put more muscle behind the battle to combat plastic pollution with the launch a £1m grant fund to give to anti-plastic projects.

The grant fund, called Plan Plastic - The Million Pound Challenge, will award the money over one year to schemes that can show they have an impact on plastic pollution.

Waitrose has partnered with Hubbub, the environmental charity, to support the chosen projects and measure the impact of the grants.

Waitrose has raised the £1m from the sale of 5p carrier bags. Grants will range from £150,000 to £300,000 each.

Organisations including charities, academic bodies, social enterprises and schools and colleges have been invited to submit applications by 24 February.

Project areas will include plastics in the community, education, public behaviour changes, food, agriculture and farming, and microplastics.

A dedicated website has been established to support the endeavours.

Read more: Morrisons trials paper bags in anti-plastic move

An independent expert panel will review submissions in April and winning projects will be announced in May.

Panel members will comprise those from academia, industry, non-governmental organisations, business and a senior Waitrose partner.

“We hope the fund will help find new and effective ways of accelerating action to rethink how we all use and dispose of plastic now and in the future,” said Tor Harris, Waitrose’s head of CSR, health and agriculture.

“We take this issue very seriously and are making progress all the time, but we’re determined to maintain our momentum as well as supporting others to do the same.”

Trewin Restorick, chief executive and founder of Hubbub, said: “Waitrose’s new grant fund is tremendously exciting as it will support innovative thinking on how to combat the issue of plastic pollution.

“We’ll be on the lookout for entries that really demonstrate a tangible impact and that will have a longer-term legacy beyond the grant funding stage.”

Waitrose said it was committed to making all its own-label packaging widely recyclable, reusable or home compostable by 2023.