Ecosurety Exploration Fund announces 2022 winners
Today (9 February), the Ecosurety Exploration Fund announced three UK firms as their 2022 prize winners, receiving £334,000 collectively. Concluding its final round, the fund recognises the firms for their ‘vital and impactful solutions to the reuse and recycling sectors’.
Having launched in 2019, the fund has since awarded £1 million to innovative organisations within the waste and recycling sector. It intends to aid projects addressing challenges regarding packaging, batteries, and e-waste. Now supporting seven projects, candidates could receive up to £150,000 for projects to be completed within a 12-month period.
Entrants for the second and final round were called for in June 2021, with finalists going before a panel of ten industry-wide experts, including Paula Chin, Sustainable Materials Specialist at WWF UK; Mark Miodownik, Professor of Materials and Society at UCL; Margaret Bates, Executive Director of OPRL; and Michelle Norman, Director of External Affairs and Sustainability, Suntory Beverage & Food Europe and GB&I.
The first 2022 winner, ‘ZAP’ (zero avoidable packaging), led by The Alliance for Sustainable Building Products’, aims to develop scalable solutions to help reduce the amount of avoidable packaging waste in construction. In collaboration with Cullinan Studio, Bankside Open Spaces Trust, Mace and Morgan Sindall, the project will offer sector-wide guidance to aid in reaching zero avoidable waste from the industry by 2050.
The second project, the ‘Somerset Repair Bus’, involves a touring electronics skill-share and collection facility throughout the area. Conceptualised by Resource Futures, Somerset Waste Partnership and Donate-IT, the scheme aims to promote more productive electrical repair and reuse across rural communities.
The final recipient, ‘RE:Solve’, aims to address ongoing complications to recycling brought about by residual food waste. South West College in Northern Ireland put forward plans to develop a new process to effectively remove food waste from plastic packaging with little quantities of water, both of which will be recycled once separated.
Judge Paula China, Sustainable Materials Specialist at WWF UK said: “It was a privilege to be a judge on the Ecosurety Exploration Fund this year and the high standard of entries made it a very tough decision. Congratulations to the successful applicants who all demonstrated remarkable ambition to address unsustainable resource consumption and find meaningful ways to accelerate progress towards a circular economy.
“Opportunities like this 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.”
Michelle Norman, a judge from Suntory Beverage & Food Europe and GB&I, added: “Judging the Ecosurety Exploration Fund was an inspirational experience. All the entrants showed true entrepreneurial spirit supported with robust data and insights, and clearly demonstrated how they would turn their plan into tangible and measurable outcomes.
“Funding for the winning projects will be instrumental in furthering our knowledge and insight of how to solve some of the UK’s most complex sustainability issues and I can’t wait to see the results.”
Will Ghali, CEO of Ecosurety also commented: “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 achieved by the first round of projects we funded.
“As before, the second round attracted a diverse and inspiring range of standout projects which made the job of the independent judges very tricky indeed. We look forward to seeing the three winning projects accelerate us towards a more sustainable future and we would like to extend our appreciation to everyone who either took the time to enter or helped us select the most promising projects to fund.”