UKRI’s SSPP challenge awards funding to flexible packaging projects

The UK Research and Innovation has announced the competition winners for its Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging (SSPP) Challenge.

The project has chosen to fund six projects as part of its challenges for the capturing and storing household flexible plastics for recycling.

The challenge delivered by Innovate UK aims to encourage cleaner growth across the supply chain and reduce plastic waste entering the environment by 2025 and winners will also have the opportunity to trial their designs as part of the FPF FlexCollect project, a pilot for household collection and recycling of flexible packaging to be undertaken in the UK to date.

In the UK flexible plastic packaging accounts for almost 25% of all consumer plastic packaging in the UK and is used to package 40% of products, around 6% of the 895,000 tonnes introduced to the UK market annually undergoes recycling.

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

SSPP’s deputy director Nick Cliffe said: “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 six projects to be awarded the money were:

  • SRS International Ltd will develop a battery-operated device to densify and store household flexible plastic waste, making transportation to a collection or deposit point more convenient.
  • LUMA-iD Ltd is working on a capsule that compresses flexible plastic by 400%, featuring clear iconography to guide users on recyclable plastics, a fullness indicator, and a mechanism to empty the compressed contents into a bag.
  • Crucible Medtech Ltd is designing a kitchen counter-top waste collector and compactor, compacting and baling flexible plastic waste for easy handling and transportation.
  • Will Davis Design Ltd (StudioDavis) is developing a collection and compression system for managing and storing flexible waste in homes, with a focus on using recycled materials.
  • Sheephill Orchard Ltd, leading the Vac-Flex project, is exploring the feasibility of a reusable vacuum pack collection method for flexible plastic packaging, developing a dedicated ‘lock & release’ vacuum container to store and temporarily compress the waste.
  • Approach Studio Ltd will design and trial a standalone compacting caddy with features encouraging the collection of various plastic film formats, including a retaining funnel system, compaction, and a locking handle system for easy carrying and transport.

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