‘Plastic is a useful material, but it also causes huge problems for the environment and climate. We are lagging behind. The work of removing plastic from the environment and integrating it into a sustainable cycle needs to be accelerated,’ says Rasmus Hansson, CEO of the Retailers’ Environment Fund.
‘Money doesn’t solve everything, but the grants from the fund will enable many more to do a lot more. We support volunteers and professionals, scientists and businesses engaged in plastic cleanup, mobilising people, developing technology, studying the impact of the environment and climate and raising people’s awareness of plastic pollution. This year’s announcement is the biggest yet and focuses on the topics that require the greatest effort,’ says Hansson.
The Norwegian Retailers’ Environment Fund receives NOK 0.50 for each plastic bag sold by member retailers in Norway. The money is earmarked for environmental initiatives that help to achieve the Fund’s main purpose: reduce plastic pollution, increase plastic recycling and reduce the consumption of plastic bags. The Fund is now issuing a call for applications for grants of more than NOK 100 million, divided into six categories:
- Volunteer-based cleanup and preventive measures against plastic pollution: Up to NOK 25 million for cleanup work and initiatives with the potential to prevent plastic pollution
- Ocean cleanup technology: Up to NOK 23 million for innovations and technology that ensure more efficient cleanup of rivers, ports and the seabed and that can prevent the loss of fishing gear
- Reduced plastic consumption: Up to NOK 10 million for the development of more environmentally friendly alternatives to short-lived plastic and new business models that contribute to reduced plastic consumption
- Improving the management of plastic globally: Up to NOK 25 million for projects and collaborations in developing countries with a major plastic pollution problems and limited resources
- Increased use of recycled plastic: Up to NOK 20 million for applicants who wish to increase the use of recycled plastic
- Knowledge about plastic and the environment: Up to NOK 5 million for projects that help to fill knowledge gaps relating to environmental problems caused by plastic
The Norwegian Retailers’ Environment Fund has already distributed NOK 260 million for more than 200 plastic and environmental projects. Everything from awareness-raising campaigns, cleanup work, research and business development have received grants to solve the environmental problems associated with plastic. In 2019, initiatives supported by the Fund contributed to the removal of more than 500 tonnes of plastic waste in nature.
‘The Norwegian Retailers’ Environment Fund is running Norway’s biggest plastic cleanup project, called Rydd Norge. However, we also need to come up with solutions that make such cleanup projects unnecessary. We are looking for businesses and scientists to develop technology and business models that make recycling plastic more profitable than discarding,’ says Hansson.
More information about each individual call for applications, with descriptions, requirements and application deadlines for the different categories, is available at https://handelensmiljofond.no/en/apply-for-funding
‘People are impatient to see solutions to the plastic pollution problem that actually work. And so are we,’ says Hansson.