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

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. The fund enables us to support ideas with 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 closed for new project submissions on 24 August 2021.

2021 submissions are now closed!

The entry submission window for the second round of the Ecosurety Exploration Fund closed on 24 August 2021. The winning projects will be announced in early 2022.

The independent judging panel

The 2021 entries have been 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 the independent panel 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 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.

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"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

Do you have a project we can support?

Whilst the entry submission window is now closed, 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 on 0333 4330 370.
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