Mussel filters and fungus recycling: Five projects win £1m to tackle plastic waste

Five projects in the UK have won a share of £1 million (€1.13m) to tackle plastic pollution.

The innovative projects include research into how mussels could be used to filter out microplastics (pieces of plastic smaller than five millimetres in diameter) from estuaries and coasts, and a company that is looking to use mycelium (the roots of fungi) to break down plastic waste. Also receiving funding is a group that has developed tracking technology for fishing gear, in order to prevent nets being lost at sea and trapping wildlife, and an awareness-raising campaign to educate people about plastic free and organic period products. The final winner was the Youth Hostel Association, which plans to install free water fountains in 60 of its hostels to reduce reliance on disposable plastic bottles.

The investment comes from Plan Plastic, an initiative by supermarket chain Waitrose & Partners, which offers grants of between £150,000 and £300,000, money was raised from the sale of five pence plastic carrier bags in Waitrose stores. The fund is being overseen by environmental charity Hubbub.