Waitrose are putting up £1 million saved from plastic bag charges to help fund plastic reduction initiatives in Britain.

Dubbed “Plan Plastic – The Million Pound Challenge” will award money to projects that demonstrate an impact on plastic pollution now and in the future.

The retailer has partnered with environmental charity Hubbub to support and choose the projects, as well as measure the impact of the grants. Grants will range from £150,000 to £300,000 according to Waitrose.

Applications to the scheme are open until 24February, with a range of organisations encouraged to apply, including charities, academic bodies, social enterprises, schools, and colleges.

Waitrose listed five project areas for submissions: plastics in the community; education; public behaviour change; food, agriculture and farming; and micro plastics.

Tor Harris, head of CSR, health & agriculture for Waitrose & Partners, said: “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. 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, CEO and founder of Hubbub, added: “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. We’d encourage any eligible organisation working in this space to apply via the website.”

An independent expert panel from academia, industry, business and NGOs will convene in April to review the entries, with successful applicants announced in May 2019.

Organisations can apply via the Plan Plastic - The Million Pound Challenge website at www.planplasticfund.com