The Ecosurety Exploration Fund

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

The Ecosurety Exploration Fund was launched in 2019 to invest £1million in projects that could reduce the environmental impact of packaging, batteries or EEE through innovation or research in the UK. The fund enabled us to support ideas with up to £150,000 that would go on to make a bigger impact beyond the initially funded project - especially those that may ordinarily struggle to get off the ground. It has now enabled eight innovation and research initiatives, with the final round of funded projects announced in February 2022.

The Ecosurety Exploration Fund winners

Eight projects have benefited from the fund in a boost to UK recycling and reuse, helping to reduce the environmental impact of packaging, batteries and WEEE. Find out more about all the funded projects here.

2022 winning projects

Bristol Refill Cup Scheme

This city-wide reusable 'returnable' cup scheme is the final of eight projects to secure funding from the £1million Ecosurety Exploration Fund.

The Bristol Refill Cup Scheme is led by the environmental charity, City to Sea, and is designed to prevent 250,000 single-use hot drink cups from entering the waste stream every day. The scheme enables consumers to ‘borrow’ a reusable takeaway cup from a café and then return it so it can be reused.

The project will act as a pilot to better understand the most effective way to operate the system and engage the public before rolling it out in other major cities across the country in the future.  


Find out more

The Fixy Project

Empowering and connecting rural communities through reuse and repair.

The Fixy project, previously known as the Somerset Repair Bus Project, helps to coordinate, facilitate and raise awareness of electrical repair and reuse across rural communities.

Led by Resource Futures, this project is set to raise the standard and visibility of these activities across the region and share a blueprint of best practices for other regions to follow.

Find out more




Zero avoidable packaging waste in construction.

The Alliance for Sustainable Building Products is leading this project to research and develop scalable solutions to help combat avoidable packaging waste in construction, a sector that is the second-highest consumer of plastics, much of which is not recycled.

The project will link with real-world construction projects to build case studies and offer future training and guidance that will demonstrate the positive actions the whole supply chain and sector can take.

Find out more




Recycling plastic packaging contaminated with residual food waste.

Huge quantities of plastic packaging separated from food waste during anaerobic digestion processing ends up heavily contaminated with food waste residues that result in it being landfilled.

This project led by South West College in Northern Ireland is leading research into a novel process to efficiently remove the food waste from plastic packaging without using large quantities of water. Once separated, the aim is for both the food and the plastic to be effectively treated and recycled.

Find out more



2020 winning projects

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.

Find out more




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

"Opportunities like the Ecosurety Exploration Fund allow us to explore ideas that lead to greater collective action and better outcomes for people and planet, and - given the scale of the climate and nature crisis - this is critical." Paula Chin Photo Paula Chin Sustainable Materials Specialist, WWF UK

Independent rigorous assessment

Submissions to the fund were 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 some of the independent panel that helped select the 2022 funded projects can be found here.
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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

Michelle Norman

Michelle Norman

Director of external affairs and sustainability, Suntory Beverage & Food Europe and GB&I

Michelle is responsible for leading the company’s sustainability strategy and implementation plans across the region, setting inspirational goals to help the company realise its vision of Growing for Good. Michelle has aligned the company’s action on sustainability to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and drives results for the benefit of the environment and society.

She has also implemented the health and wellbeing plan for Suntory Beverage and Food GBI and spearheaded the company’s first movement fund, resulting in the development of B Active, a programme which aims to improve the lives and prospects of young people aged 16 to 24 through access to sport and physical activity.




"The Ecosurety Exploration Fund has proven to be a vital launchpad for innovative projects that offer real solutions to some of the key problems we face today, with astounding results." Will Ghali Photo Will Ghali CEO, Ecosurety

Do you have a project we can support?

Whilst the fund is no longer accepting applications, we would still love to hear about any projects that you think we should support or be involved with. We are interested in projects that can reduce the environmental impact of packaging, batteries, EEE and other waste streams too. Please send us an email by clicking the button below or call us today on 0333 4330 370.
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