It has launched the fund – raised from the sale of 5p single-use plastic bags – which will be distributed over a year, with the grants ranging from £150,000 to £300,000.
The retailer is partnering with environmental charity Hubbub to support the chosen projects and measure their impacts.
They are inviting applications from charities, academic institutions, social enterprises, schools and colleges until 24th January 2019.
Projects could include encouraging and enabling plastic recycling and the circular economy linked to social impact; campaigns aimed at children and young people to raise awareness and change behaviour; inspiring and enabling new ways of shopping and consuming and finding alternatives to reduce use and increase reuse of plastics in food, agriculture and farming.
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.”
The winners will be announced in May 2019.
Waitrose previously pledged not to sell any own-label products in black plastic packaging beyond 2019 and make all its own-label packaging widely recyclable, reusable or home compostable by 2023.