Northampton University teams up with Waitrose and others to find eco-friendly alternatives to plastic

The University of Northampton (UON) has joined a new partnership forged to find solutions to what the United Nations has called the “disastrous” use of plastic in agriculture.

In a report published in December 2021, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations said there is “compelling” evidence of the need for better management of the millions of tonnes of plastics used each year. in the food and agricultural system.

Today, UoN has teamed up with prepared fruit maker Blue Skies and retailer Waitrose & Partners to launch a research and development center that hopes to find “game-changing” solutions to sustainability challenges, focusing first on ecological alternatives to plastics. .

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Food waste is considered a major contributor to pollution and climate change

The Fresh Produce Impact Hub (FRESHPPACT) on the university campus will bring together retailers, manufacturers and agribusinesses rooted in developing or emerging economies, and work with research partners to evaluate, test and rapidly adopt the most innovative solutions .

The UoN Center for Sustainable Business Practices plans to coordinate and manage the project of initiatives that stem from FRESHPPACT – initially focusing on plastic use in agriculture, packaging and workwear.

The chair of the centre, Professor Amin Hosseinian-Far, said: “Agriculture and the food industry must move away from the ubiquitous use of plastic for the good of the planet. For example, thousands of tons of agricultural plastic often cannot be recycled because they become contaminated with soil and end up being burned or buried.

“For all of these problems, we are confident that there are solutions – and bringing together the partners and projects that will power FRESHPPACT is a huge step forward.”

FRESHPPACT invites any organization – including, but not limited to, retailers, fresh produce companies, research organizations (including universities) and solution providers – to express their interest in submitting possible projects .

Anyone interested can find out more on their website.

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