Sky invests £25m in plastic waste recycling innovation scheme

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A new scheme aimed at cutting plastic waste has been launched by Sky.

The company has also been responsible for the Ocean Rescue campaign aimed at reducing the amount of plastic waste ending up in the oceans. The world’s oceans are already polluted by more than 150 million tons of plastic and the amount of waste plastic they contain is predicted to weigh more than all the fish in the oceans by 2050. Each year, plastic waste in the seas is responsible for the deaths of more than a million birds and over 100,000 sea mammals.

The Sky Ocean rescue campaign, described as “a victory for the seas”, has claimed a major victory since the UK government has made the decision to introduce, subject to consultation, a deposit-return scheme for plastic single-use bottles. This should help towards reducing the amount of single-use plastic that finds its way into the oceans.

Sky’s new scheme involves an investment of £25 million for businesses and technologies that explore new and innovative ways of combating plastic pollution. Alternative products to use in place of plastic bags and bottles are being explored, as is the use of different materials in place of synthetic fibres used in clothing. Inventions that make plastic waste recycling and other forms of domestic recycling easier are also being backed by Sky. The broadcasting company is keen for other firms to join the initiative, hopefully boosting the investment fund to £100m.

In addition to the investment fund, Sky also intends to launch a project to enable businesses to pilot new products and test them at its headquarters in London. The first company to benefit from this “innovators in residence” project is a start-up that is working towards reducing plastic packaging by using natural materials that come from seaweeds and plants. The company, Skipping Rocks Lab, will test biodegradable seaweed orbs for containing products such as water and juice.

The chief executive of Sky, Jeremy Darroch, has said that the company feels it is time for businesses to invest more money in innovation and to stop the dumping of harmful plastics into the oceans. He claims that Sky Ocean Ventures will help with this by supporting breakthrough thinking and investing in ideas that will reduce the amount of plastic that is not suitable for plastic waste recycling and that ends up in the seas.

Sky is looking forward to working with organisations that share its views on marine pollution and will help with finding and supporting innovative companies. The aim is to promote the development of materials, products and business models to combat marine litter and produce meaningful changes.

Sky’s new innovation fund has also been welcomed by the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove. He said that Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign had inspired the government to work more urgently towards cutting down on plastic waste. He remarked that he was looking forward to discovering how creativity and innovation could help with further reducing the amount of plastic waste produced in the UK.

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