The ISCF SSPP Collecting flexible plastic packaging waste at home competition has been launched today by UK Research & Innovation’s Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging (SSPP) Challenge and the Innovate UK KTN for innovative design solutions to capture flexible plastics for recycling.
An online competition briefing on 22 February 2023 (09:00-11:00) has been organised to provide additional information and support for potential applicants.
With local authorities expected to collect flexible plastic packaging for recycling by 2027, and a growing number of large supermarkets providing in-store collection points, the ISCF SSPP Collecting flexible plastic packaging waste at home competition is looking for containment solutions to encourage and support householders to collect this type of packaging in the home for recycling. It also supports the objectives of the FPF FlexCollect project, the most extensive pilot for household collection and recycling of flexible packaging to be undertaken in the UK to date.
Simply put, any material which can be scrunched up in the hand with little effort – such as plastic films, cling film, metallic layered plastics (such as crisp packets) and pouches – is considered as a flexible plastic. Flexible plastic packaging represents nearly a quarter of all UK consumer plastic packaging and is responsible for packing 40% of products. However, only around 6% of the 895,000 tonnes placed on the UK market every year is recycled.
“One of the key barriers to developing an effective recycling route for flexible plastic packaging is that it needs to be separated from other household recyclables,” explains SSPP’s deputy director Nick Cliffe. “The SSPP-funded competition is looking for innovative, user-friendly solutions to help householders to collect flexible packaging as a separate waste stream for collection at the kerbside or to take to a supermarket collection point.”
Proposed solutions must be easy to store in the home and to carry, would ideally be designed to encourage the collection of as much material as possible, and ideally include a volume reduction capability to squeeze some of the air out of the packaging. Designs must also be user-friendly for all householders and easy to clean if designed for multi-use, or able to be recycled along with the collected materials.
The deadline for applications is 12 April 2023. The winning applications will be eligible to receive a grant between £25,000 and £50,000 from Innovate UK to develop innovative ideas that help with the collection of flexible packaging waste from households. They will also have the opportunity to develop their concept, and then present and prototype their idea as part of a nationwide trial to collect flexible plastic packaging waste from UK households.
Full details can be found on the ISCF SSPP Collecting flexible plastic packaging waste at home competition page.