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2020 Ecosurety Exploration Fund winners revealed

2020 Ecosurety Exploration Fund winners revealed

December 8, 2020
Press Release: Ecosurety

Four UK-based innovation and research projects offering practical and impactful recycling or re-use solutions have been awarded a total of £500,000

The Ecosurety Exploration Fund was launched in November 2019 with a view to providing a visible funding route for companies, charities, not-for-profits, academic institutions and the public sector working on projects addressing the environmental challenges presented by packaging, batteries or e-waste.

Offering a total of £1 million across three years, the Ecosurety Exploration Fund is the first such opportunity to be launched by a UK compliance scheme. It builds on Ecosurety’s experience in supporting innovative projects and new technologies across the waste and recycling sector.

Helping to accelerate the transition to a circular economy, the four funded projects tackle a diverse range of issues, including the recyclability of post-consumer plastic film, the high level of electricals going to landfill, the low levels of recycling on urban housing estates and innovative technology for the lithium-ion battery recycling sector.

The winning projects were selected for their originality, viability and potential long-term impact by a high-profile panel of 10 independent experts from industry and non-governmental organizations, including Mike Barry, strategic sustainability expert and former director of sustainability at Marks & Spencer, Libby Peake, senior policy advisor at Green Alliance and Alison Bramfitt, group packaging manager at Nestlé.

The 2020 winning projects are:

Fit for Reuse – ‘Alleviating poverty through electricals re-use’
Led by the Reuse Network, the Fit for Reuse project will create up-to-date guidance on electrical goods repair and re-use, in line with WEEE/EEE standards. In doing this, the project can help tackle the growing mountain of old or unused electricals that are usually recycled or sent to landfill and, through the Reuse Network, provide more high quality, repaired electrical goods to people that need them.

“Thanks to Ecosurety and the judging panel, this grant funding will allow us to review, update and republish this guidance to ensure ongoing compliance with recent regulatory updates and standards, and to future-proof and be ready for the impact of eco-design and circular economy policy measures when they are put into practice,” commented Craig Anderson, CEO of the Reuse Network.

BOSS 2D – ‘Accelerating flexible plastic film recycling’
Ecosurety Exploration Funding will enable Newcastle-based Impact Recycling to scale up its BOSS 2D technology (Baffled Oscillation Separation System) for post-consumer plastic packaging.

BOSS 2D is a new, disruptive technology that does not exist in the market which will establish the first commercial-scale automated process, capable of recycling up to two tonnes an hour of post-consumer plastic film packaging to produce a high purity PE and PP film, allowing it to be used directly in consumer products.

“We are delighted to receive grant funding from the Ecosurety Exploration Fund for the development of the BOSS 2D technology,” said David Walsh, CEO of Impact Recycling. “Recycling post-consumer waste film plastic is one of the biggest challenges our industry faces and now with this funding from Ecosurety we can accelerate the roll out of the BOSS 2D technology to provide a scalable automated solution.”

CellMine – ‘Closing the loop on lithium-ion batteries’
Sales of lithium-ion batteries are projected to grow to US$1 trillion by 2024, largely spearheaded by governments driving legislation on electric vehicles. However, current supplies of rare earth materials used in their manufacture are inadequate to meet our long-term needs and existing recycling technologies are inefficient and environmentally hazardous.

Ecosurety Exploration Funding for Impact Solutions to advance the CellMine project (pictured above) will enable a new low-energy, low-cost recycling process to be explored. The process can be used to selectively recover rare earth metals used in lithium-ion batteries (such as lithium, cobalt and manganese) in an environmentally friendly way, thereby helping to close the loop on the lithium-ion battery lifecycle.

“Lithium-ion battery technology is the keystone in moving our society to a greener more sustainable future,” said Tom Rose, innovation director at Impact Solutions. “But to make good on this promise we need to develop effective and economical ways to recycle these batteries at end-of-life and make sure the precious, limited resources used within them are not lost.

“CellMine hopes to tackle this challenge by developing a recovery method for these metals allowing them to be re-used in new batteries again and again. This funding will be instrumental in allowing Impact to demonstrate the principles needed to take this technology from the benchtop to future commercialization.”

Maximizing recycling in purpose-built flats
Despite the fact that purpose-built flats make up 37% of London’s residential accommodation, capture of dry mixed recycling is poor. Ecosurety Exploration Fund money will enable the London Waste & Recycling Board to trial a series of new interventions and facilities across four estates in the capital with a view to increasing the quantity and quality of dry mixed recycling, textiles and e-waste, as well as other materials that have high embedded carbon values such as food. Findings from this research will then be shared widely so that they can implement the most impactful changes.

“We’ve had some real success already in addressing low recycling levels on London’s estates, but we know we need to do much more as the number of flats in the capital continues to grow exponentially,” commented Gemma Scott, Local Authority support manager (Flats), LWARB. “Purpose-built flats and estates are a particular challenge, where recycling performance is well below what we need if we’re going to achieve recycling targets and tackle the climate emergency.

“We’re delighted to have been awarded this funding, which will provide extra facilities and support for residents to recycle their e-waste, textiles, food and packaging to help address the problem.”

“Our vision when we set up the Ecosurety Exploration Fund was to provide a vital springboard for projects that offer truly viable and innovative solutions to the challenges that packaging, batteries and e-waste currently pose to the environment,” remarked James Piper, CEO of Ecosurety.

E-Waste World Conference & Expo 2021 takes place on Tuesday 30 November and Wednesday 1 December at The Forum, Frankfurt, Germany – face to face and in person with beers, handshakes and the much-talked about nibbles. Registration for this highly focused, solutions-driven event will open in early 2021. For sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, please email peter@trans-globalevents.com

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