WRAP has announced the four schemes that have won grants as part of the UKRI competition to find solutions to plastic waste.
Four schemes have won grants totalling nearly £1m as part of a UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) competition to find innovative solutions to plastic waste. WRAP announced the entrants on their website, confirming that the winning schemes to the UK Circular Plastics Flagship Projects competition demonstrated creative business ideas to improve plastics recycling and reduce the environmental impacts of plastics. The schemes were the result of collaborations between different groups, organisations or individuals and were completely new and untried in the UK.
The UK Circular Plastics Flagship Projects competition is part of the £20m Plastic Research and Innovation Fund (PRIF), managed on behalf of UKRI by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Innovate UK, with delivery by WRAP.
The four winning projects are outlined below:
Impact Solutions and Scottish Plastic Recycling Centre of Excellence
Impact has developed a new recycling technology, PolyChrome, that can remove colour and additives from polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) plastic while also preparing it for end users. Polychrome builds on Impact’s existing separation system and aims to use this technology to develop a scalable and commercially viable system. This project will enable the technology to be used in a demonstration unit, while performing the techno-economic evaluation that will feed into the design of a full-scale prototype/pilot system.
Luxus and the Technology Research Centre (TRC)
The aim of this collaborative project is to optimise material / packaging formulation, using an algorithm that data searches the best method to use recycled materials and improve cost-efficiency. It uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to create a predictive model to produce a cost-optimised suite of formulations for complex polymer compounds to an order-book of batch-specifications, using variable input raw materials and a range of additives.
Unilever and University of Liverpool
This project aims to develop a novel packaging solution for the Domestos brand bleach product that includes a higher percentage (>70%) of post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic in [High density polyethylene ] (HDPE) bottles. This is an ambitious project that has potential to pave the way for other products in the home care category and other branches (professional cleaning, drain openers and other products where the formulations are made up of corrosive/oxidative substances). This pilot project builds on a programme of research and experiments completed by Unilever and partners to date to date.
Technology Research Centre (TRC) and RPC Containers Ltd
An innovative, contaminated film separation technique to achieve full recovery of polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate and aluminium from multi-layered packaging waste (including film, semi-rigid trays, cups and tubs). The project will develop a pilot-scale system and will aim to process 15,000 tonnes of plastic within its first year post project, with plans to expand this further after the initial pilot.
As part of the same grant scheme, WRAP will soon announce a new fund for projects to help unlock the logistical barriers within supply chains to commercial scale refill systems.
WRAP is a not for profit organisation founded in 2000 which works with governments, businesses and citizens to create a world in which we source and use resources sustainably.
UK Research and Innovation brings together the UK Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England into a single organisation to create the best environment for research and innovation to flourish. The vision is to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation.
The £20 million Plastics and Research Innovation Fund (PRIF) is managed on behalf of UKRI by EPSRC and Innovate UK, with strategic oversight from Professor Duncan Wingham, Executive Chair of the Natural Environment Research Council. UKRI is working with WRAP to ensure coordinated leadership of the fund. PRIF will help to create new approaches and alternatives needed to rapidly reverse the impact that our use of plastics is having on the planet.