WRAP, a recycling charity group in the U.K., has announced that four projects received grants totaling nearly £1 million (or about $1.23 million) as part of a U.K. Research and Innovation (UKRI) competition to find innovative solutions to plastic scrap. According to a news release from WRAP, winning entrants to the competition demonstrated creative business ideas to reduce the environmental impacts of plastics and improve plastics recycling.
The competition is part of the £20 million Plastic Research and Innovation Fund, managed on behalf of the UKRI by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and Innovate UK, with delivery by WRAP. The projects entered for the competition had to be the result of collaboration between different groups, organizations or individuals and completely new and untried in the U.K.
“We have been very impressed with the diverse range of inventive and creative solutions submitted to the competition,” says Peter Maddox, director of WRAP U.K. “The four winning projects will make a significant contribution to reducing the harmful effects of plastic on the environment as well as increasing the amount that can be recycled.”
The following are four winning projects:
- Impact Solutions and Scottish Plastic Recycling Center of Excellence -- Impact was awarded £229,525 (or about $283,000) for its new recycling technology, PolyChrome, that can remove color and additives from polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) plastic while also preparing it for end users. PolyChrome builds on Impact’s existing separation system and aims to use this technology to develop a scalable separation and commercially viable system. The project will enable the technology to be used in a demonstration unit.
- Luxus and the Technology Research Centre -- This group was awarded £255,730 (or about $314,000) for this project. The aim of this project is to optimize material and packaging formulation by using an algorithm that data searches the best method to use recycled materials and improve cost efficiency. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to create a predictive model to produce a cost-optimized suite of formulations for complex polymer compounds to an order book of batch specifications, using variable input raw materials and a range of additives.
- Unilever and the University of Liverpool -- This project aims to develop a new packaging solution for the Domestos brand of bleach that includes a higher percentage (about 70 percent) of postconsumer recycled plastic in high-density polyethylene (HDPE) bottles. The project received £128,417 (or about $158,000) from WRAP. has the potential to pave the way for other products in the home care category and other branches.
- Technology Research Centre and RPC Containers Ltd. -- This group was awarded £307,030 (or about $379,000) for an innovative, contaminated film separation technique to achieve full recovery of PE, PP, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and aluminum from multilayered packaging waste, including film, semirigid trays, cups and tubs. The project will develop a pilot-scale system and will aim to process about 15,000 metric tons of plastic within its first year with plans to expand after the pilot.