UKRI funds 6 household flexible plastic recycling projects


Flexible Plastic Fund

A competition by UK Research & Innovation’s (UKRI) Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging (SSPP) Challenge has funded six projects aiming to design “easy-to-use solutions” for capturing and storing household flexible plastics for recycling.

The six projects, which between them were awarded £244,000 in grant funding by the SSPP Challenge, are SRS International, LUMA-iD, Crucible Medtech, Will Davis Design, Led by Sheephill Orchard, and Approach Studio.

SRS International is set to develop a battery-operated device to densify and store household flexible plastic waste with the aim of reducing storage space and making transportation to a collection or deposit point easier.

LUMA-iD is developing a capsule that compresses flexible plastic by 400% without any complicated moving parts, UKRI says. Crucible Medtech is designing a kitchen countertop waste collector and compactor around the size of a small waste basket or a large toaster.

Will Davis Design, trading as StudioDavis, are designing a collection and compression system for managing and storing flexible waste at home. Led by Sheephill Orchard is aiming to develop a dedicated “lock & release” vacuum container that stores and temporarily compresses flexible plastic waste to reduce the volume.

This funding is supporting the development of innovative, user-friendly solutions.

Approach Studio plans to design and trail a standalone compacting caddy with design elements that encourage the collection of both small and larger plastic film formats.

SSPP’s deputy director Nick Cliffe, commented: “One of the barriers to recycling household flexible plastic packaging is that it’s bulky and springy and requires a lot of storage space unless it’s squashed.

“This funding is supporting the development of innovative, user-friendly solutions to address this and help householders collect and store these materials efficiently for either collection at the kerbside or to be taken to a supermarket collection point.”

The companies will also have the opportunity to trial their designs as part of the FPF FlexCollect project – the pilot for household collection and recycling of flexible packaging.

In line with the UK Government’s plans for Simpler Recycling, local authorities in England will be collecting household flexible plastic packaging for recycling by 2027, and a growing number of supermarkets are also providing in-store collection points.

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