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The Ecosurety Exploration Fund

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

Can you help us make a meaningful impact on the environment?

Over three years the Ecosurety Exploration Fund will invest £1million in projects that can reduce the environmental impact of packaging, batteries or WEEE 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. Please note that the first submission period closed on 10 March 2020. Watch the video here for a quick intro and read on below to find out the full details. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us using the link at the bottom of this page or call us on 0333 4330 370.

What projects are we looking to fund?

Applicants to the Ecosurety Exploration Fund needed to ensure that they met 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 WEEE 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 on-the-go recycling
  • Providing innovative solutions for unrecyclable 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

     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 May 2020 and the project should be completed by May 2021.

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 is proceedable.

6. Be unique

We are especially interested in new ideas and approaches that can 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?

Entry submissions were open from 28 November 2019 and closed on 10 March 2020. IMPORTANT UPDATE: Due to the unprecedented impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the UK, the selection of winning projects has been postponed to a date later in the year when applicant organisations are fully operational and projects are proceedable. We will be in touch with applicants before judging recommences later in the year to confirm the details of their entries. New entries will not be accepted.

Who will select the successful projects?

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. Find out more here, including interviews with some of the judges.
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A rigorous judging process

The entries will be judgedby an esteemed panel comprised of five independent industry experts and five leading producers - major brands who place packaging, batteries or EEE onto the UK market.

Judging will be a rigorous two-stage process, including an initial assessment by Ecosurety to determine a shortlist, followed by a judging day where entries will be discussed and evaluated by our independent panel in detail to decide the final winners. The confirmed judging panel so far is displayed below and will be updated regularly. Q&A interviews with the judges will also be added to our news page regularly.

 

Peter Maddox

Director at WRAP

Peter Maddox joined WRAP in 2006 and became Director in 2016. He has worked on the market development of recycled materials, built WRAP’s strategy and planning function, and managed their resource efficiency programmes for Defra.

He developed WRAP’s new business strategy around a circular economy framework, and in 2015 established the Resource London partnership with the London Waste and Recycling Board. As Director, he is responsible for their work on food, textiles, plastics and recycling in the UK.

"I like projects that are close to market that can potentially make an impact quickly and at scale. I also enjoy seeing transfer of technology across sectors. For example, how can developments in digital and data reduce the environmental impact or packaging, batteries or WEEE?"    

Read our full interview with Peter Maddox to find out what he hopes to see coming through the Ecosurety Exploration Fund.

Libby Peake

Senior Policy Advisor at Green Alliance

Libby joined Green Alliance in 2017 as Senior Policy Advisor, an independent think tank and charity focused on ambitious leadership for the environment.

She previously spent nearly ten years as an editor at Resource Media, an environmental publishing and communications company aiming to lead discussions around sustainability and resource use. She edited the company’s flagship magazine, Resource, as well as overseeing the company’s daily news site. 

"I’d like to see solutions that genuinely target reduction, the neglected first of the three Rs. That could include new delivery models for food and consumer goods to minimise the amount of resources needed. It could also include better design for electronics so that people don’t feel compelled to buy and throw away so many gadgets."

Read our full interview with Libby Peake to find out what she hopes to see coming through the Ecosurety Exploration Fund.

 

 

 Mike Barry

 

Mike Barry

Sustainable change maker and former Director of Sustainable Business (Plan A) at Marks and Spencer

Mike is a charismatic and well respected sustainability leader who led the Marks & Spencer Plan A sustainable strategy.

A passionate believer that we need a fundamentally different way to do business, one that's good for customers, colleagues, citizens, communities, society and planet alike, but equally passionate that this change won't just happen because we want it to happen, we must make it so.

"Not enough of innovation is customer-centric enough. Too many shiny, technical baubles but what’s going to make a busy, hard-pressed person change their engrained behaviour of the last couple of decades? Circular packaging and electronics has got lots of ideas but we’ve got to make them feel as beneficial to the user as the planet."

Read our full interview with Mike Barry to find out what he hopes to see coming through the Ecosurety Exploration Fund.

Janet Gunter

Co-founder and Outreach Lead at the Restart Project

Janet Gunter is co-founder and Outreach Lead at the Restart Project, a London-based social enterprise that aims to “fix our relationship with electronics”. The Restart Project was born in 2013 out of a frustration with the throwaway, consumerist model of electronics that we’ve been sold, and the growing mountain of e-waste that it’s leaving behind. By bringing people together to share skills and gain the confidence to open up their stuff, the Restart Project gives people a hands-on way of making a difference, as well as a way to talk about the wider issue of what kind of products we want.

She is an American/British activist, anthropologist and specialist in social innovation and communications, who has lived and worked in Brazil, East Timor, Portugal and Mozambique.

"We need to start with changes that make our lives better, and build on those. One example: enabling repair and reuse that connects people and increases their sense of well-being. Don’t be afraid to be radical. And definitely do not forget about people, everything starts and ends with them."

Read our full interview with Janet Gunter to find out what she hopes to see coming through the Ecosurety Exploration Fund.

 

Janet Gunter The Restart Project

 

Tim Cooper

Professor of Sustainable Design and Consumption at Nottingham Trent University

Since 2010 Tim Cooper has been Professor of Sustainable Design and Consumption at Nottingham Trent University. Tim is academic lead for the university’s Sustainable Futures strategic research theme and a member of the University Research Committee.

He specialises in research on product lifetimes and leads two research groups, Sustainable Consumption and Clothing Sustainability. Tim initiated the biennial PLATE (Product Lifetimes and the Environment) conferences and is editor of Longer Lasting Products (Routledge 2010).

Paul Franey

Senior manager, Repair and End of Life for UK and IE at Virgin Media

Paul has spent over 12 years championing sustainability in the supply chain and logistics industry and is an experienced senior manager in repair and resource management solutions for both Virgin Media and Liberty Global, the world’s largest international TV and broadband company.

Paul works hard to advocate a circular economy approach to product life cycle and ethical supply chain operations.

 

How do you apply?

Submissions to the Ecosurety Exploration Fund closed on the 10 March 2020. Thank you to everyone who applied! IMPORTANT UPDATE: Due to the Covid-19 crisis the selection of winning projects has been postponed. We will be in touch with all applicants before judging recommences later in 2020 to confirm the details of their entry.
“We are just waking up to the problems caused by our throwaway society in the UK and the inadequacy of our recycling systems. Finding new solutions to the old problems associated with waste packaging, batteries and electricals will prove absolutely vital – and I look forward to seeing what ideas are out there.” Judging panel member Libby Peake Photo Judging panel member Libby Peake Senior policy advisor, Green Alliance

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 move to a circular economy for packaging, e-waste and batteries requires innovative and bold new thinking. Harnessing new designs, technologies and ideas will ensure that our own recycling infrastructure continues to develop whilst solutions to minimise the wider environmental impacts of these products are also found. The Ecosurety Exploration Fund will provide a much-needed springboard for pioneering ideas in this sector, and I’m excited to be a part of the panel." Peter Maddox Photo Peter Maddox Director, WRAP

Any questions?

We recognise the amount of effort that goes into a funding submission. Therefore we strongly recommend that you get in touch to ask any questions you may have, or to clarify details you are unsure of, before you apply. Our team will be more than happy to help guide you. Please send us an email by clicking the button below or call us on 0333 4330 370.
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"Ecosurety remains committed to boosting recycling rates in the UK as well as playing its part in the transition to a circular waste economy. We encourage all organisations with eligible projects to apply to the Ecosurety Exploration Fund and look forward to reviewing the entries." James Piper Photo James Piper CEO, Ecosurety