The Ecosurety Exploration Fund

We are investing £1million in projects that aim to reduce the environmental impact of packaging, batteries or EEE through innovation or research in the UK.

Making a meaningful impact on the environment

Over three years the Ecosurety Exploration Fund is investing £1million in projects that can reduce the environmental impact of packaging, batteries or EEE through innovation or research in the UK. We are looking to support ideas up to £150,000 that will go on to make a bigger impact beyond the initially funded project - especially those that may ordinarily struggle to get off the ground. We funded four projects in 2020 and the second round of the fund is now open for new project submissions - find out below how you can apply.

What is the submission criteria?

Applicants to the Ecosurety Exploration Fund need to ensure that they meet our submission criteria. Please click the button below to read the full guidance.
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Successful projects must:

1. Reduce the environmental impact of packaging, batteries or EEE through innovation or research

We are interested in ideas that could go on to have a bigger impact beyond the funded project and your idea could reduce the environmental impact across any part of the life cycle - from design, production, use or collection through to reduction, reuse or recycling.

Innovation could include an innovative awareness campaign, technology, initiative, process, trial or material, for example.

Research could include academic or industry research into improving existing systems, processes, infrastructure, technology, consumer behaviour or material use, for example.

      Common problems to solve for packaging could include, but are not limited to:

  • Increasing collection rates and/or reducing contamination rates of waste packaging
  • Improving reduction and reuse
  • Providing innovative solutions for unrecyclable or hard to recycle materials

     Common problems to solve for e-waste could include, but are not limited to:

  • Identifying and effectively treating WEEE containing Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
  • Improving collection rates of household WEEE
  • Reducing consumer confusion over WEEE recycling
  • Improving responsible reuse and repair

     Common problems to solve for batteries could include, but are not limited to:

  • Increasing collection rates of household waste batteries
  • Improving consumer awareness of battery recycling
  • Improving UK recycling of waste batteries

2. Have a measurable impact

It is essential that you are able to measure and report on the impact of your project. We appreciate that innovation and research do not always result in a 100% success rate, but it is important that this is transparently reported on both during and after the project.

3. Be completed within 12 months of receiving the funding

Funds will be released in December 2021 and the project should be completed by the end of 2022.

4. Require up to £150,000

Whilst we expect the maximum amount requested for any single project to be £150,000, there is no minimum.

We are equally interested in projects with a £10,000 budget for example, and all submissions will be carefully considered. Assessing the potential impact vs project budget will be a key consideration by our judging panel.

5. If required, have already secured any additional funding the project requires 

We proactively encourage collaboration. If your project requires additional funding it must be secured to ensure that your project can proceed.

6. Be unique

We are especially interested in new ideas and approaches that have not been tried before to help solve existing problems. 

7. Be UK based

Applicants, those leading the project and the project itself must be based in the UK. The fund is open to UK registered: limited companies, charities, academic bodies and institutions, community interest companies, public sector organisations and social enterprises.


Please note that there are no restrictions on the number of entries you can submit.

When can you apply?

The entry submission window for the second round of the Ecosurety Exploration Fund opened at 9.00am GMT on 8 June 2021 and the deadline to submit an entry is 4.00pm GMT on 24 August 2021.

How do you apply?

Find out more about how to apply, including downloading our application guide and completing the online entry submission form.
Find out how to apply

What are the terms and conditions?

Please carefully read the fund terms and conditions if you are applying. They clearly explain the process and what is required of successful applicants.
Read the full T&Cs

The independent judging panel

The entries will be rigorously assessed with the winners selected by some of the preeminent minds working in the industry today, including major producers and independent industry experts. Information about our independent panel of ten experts will be updated here as their participation is confirmed.
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Margaret Bates

Executive Director of OPRL

Margaret is Executive Director of OPRL and a visiting professor of Sustainable Wastes Management at the University of Northampton.

Margaret has a PhD in landfill microbiology having worked in wastes and resource management for over 30 years. She is also a fellow of CIWM, a fellow of IOM3, an International Wastes Manager and a Chartered Environmentalist.


Margaret Bates


 Mark Miodownik


Mark Miodownik

Professor of Materials and Society at UCL

Mark Miodownik is the UCL Professor of Materials & Society. For more than twenty years he has championed materials science research that links to the arts and humanities, medicine, and society. This culminated in the establishment of the UCL Institute of Making, where he is a director and runs the research programme. Mark also recently set up the Plastic Waste Innovation Hub to carry our research into solving the environmental catastrophe of plastic waste.

Mark is the multi-award winning author of New York Times bestselling book Stuff Matters and he regularly presents BBC TV and radio programmes on materials science and engineering including the Dare to repair series on BBC Radio 4. In 2014 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and in 2018 he was awarded an MBE for services to materials science, engineering and broadcasting.

Paula Chin

Sustainable Materials Specialist at World Wildlife Fund UK

As well as working on the Eliminating Waste workstream of the Tesco partnership, at the World Wildlife Fund UK Paula provides internal and external technical expertise on materials issues including plastics, with her policy and advocacy work focusing more broadly on resources and waste. 

She is the current chair of the Wildlife and Countryside Link’s Resources and Waste Working Group and sits on several advisory groups including UKRI’s Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Advisory Group. Her background is in packaging and product development, working at several touchpoints of the packaging supply chain and within FMCG and retail for over 20 years at businesses including Proctor & Gamble, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and Pret. 


Paula Chin WWF


Paul Field

Paul Field

Quality Assurance Manager at Toolstation

Following a career in Quality Assurance within Aerospace Engineering, Paul has worked within retail quality assurance and compliance for over 20 years.

Today, Paul heads up the Quality Assurance Team at Toolstation, who have around 500 stores. Toolstation being one of the fastest growing retailers, his role covers quality assurance, legal compliance, ethical sourcing and environment with environmental, social, and corporate governance and sustainability being the central to his role. Toolstation is part of Travis Perkins PLC the UK's largest builders merchant and Paul is part of the Responsible Sourcing team.

Stuart Lendrum

Head of Packaging, Quality and Food Safety at Iceland

Stuart is a recognised expert, leader and innovator across sustainability, packaging and global food supply chains with in-depth knowledge and experience in sustainable sourcing and packaging strategies across the retail and manufacturing sectors. 

He is also a non-executive director at OPRL, having been involved at director level since its inception in 2009 while he was Head of Packaging at Sainsbury’s.


Stuart Lendrum




“The Fund is an amazing opportunity for people to get support for the research and innovation that we so vitally need to help us solve some of our big environmental problems. Whether it be EEE, packaging or batteries, with their diversity of issues we can be certain that research and innovation are where the solutions will be found. I am genuinely excited to see what ideas are out there as based on previous entries i know there is going to be a high standard.” Judging panel member Margaret Bates Photo Judging panel member Margaret Bates Executive director, OPRL

See the 2020 Ecosurety Exploration Fund winners

Four winning projects collectively benefited from a £500k boost to UK recycling and reuse in 2020 through the first round of the Ecosurety Exploration Fund, helping to reduce the environmental impact of packaging, batteries and WEEE. Find out more about the winning projects by clicking 'Show more'.
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Fit for reuse

Alleviating poverty through electricals reuse.

The Fit for reuse project will help tackle the growing mountain of old or unused electricals being recycled or landfilled, providing more high quality, repaired electrical goods to the people that really need them.

Led by the Reuse Network, this project is set to move significantly more EEE up the waste hierarchy.

Find out more




Accelerating flexible plastic film recycling.

Led by Impact Recycling, the BOSS 2D project is building on proven innovation used to sort rigid plastics, to vastly improve the recycling of flexible plastic film.

If the vast array of flexible plastic film types used as packaging wrappers can be accurately and efficiently sorted into uncontaminated, material specific waste streams, they can be recycled instead of incinerated.

BOSS 2D will enable that to happen for the first time.

Find out more



Maximising recycling from purpose-built flats

The Maximising recycling from purpose-built flats project is working to address an age-old problem - how to increase capture and quality of recyclable materials from households that don't have standard kerbside collections.

Led by ReLondon (formerly the London Waste and Recycling Board), this project will trial new interventions and infrastructure with the results and key learnings shared widely to they can be easily replicated.

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Closing the loop on lithium-ion batteries.

Lithium-ion battery technology is likely to be the keystone in moving our society to a greener, more sustainable future.

However, without effective and environmentally friendly recycling technology in place, we are fast approaching a significant problem due to the scarcity of raw materials and destructive mining techniques.

Led by Impact Solutions, CellMine could prove to be the Holy Grail solution.

Find out more

"The launch of our second Ecosurety Exploration Fund will act as a vital springboard for original research and innovation projects tackling some of the most pressing issues caused by packaging, batteries and electronic waste. It is sometimes the simplest ideas that offer the biggest potential impact and Ecosurety encourages all eligible organisations to apply." Will Ghali Photo Will Ghali CEO, Ecosurety

Any questions?

If you would like to know more about any aspect of the Ecosurety Exploration Fund, our team will be more than happy to help you. Please send us an email by clicking the button below or call us on 0333 4330 370.
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