Overview

The Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging (SSPP) Challenge aims to establish the UK as a leading innovator in smart and sustainable plastic packaging for consumer products. Its goals are to deliver cleaner growth across the supply chain, with a dramatic reduction in plastic waste entering the environment by 2025.

Scope

The aim of this competition is to support innovation to deliver a more circular economy for plastic packaging in order to deliver on the following SSPP Challenge objectives:

  1. Unlock a significant overall increase in research and innovation (R&I) spend (government and industry).
  2. Deliver R&I to support more sustainable plastic packaging in line with the UK Plastics Pact targets.
  3. Increase UK plastic packaging supply chain collaboration

You must explain how you are innovating to contribute to the UK meeting one or more of the UK Plastics Pact targets:

  1. 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable.
  2. 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted.
  3. 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging.
  4. Take actions to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use packaging items through redesign, innovation or alternative (reuse) delivery models.

Your proposal must focus on plastic packaging as the primary application but also include one or more of the following 4 innovation themes.

Materials innovation, for example:

  • new, recyclable polymer materials
  • biopolymers
  • improving ‘compatibilisation’ (making it easier to use more recycled content) alternatives to plastics for current packaging applications (for example, mycelium materials to replace expanded polystyrene) where plastic is the only current option

Design innovation, for example:

  • design for recyclability
  • design for reuse
  • making food delivery and other delivery packaging more recyclable
  • marking and identification technologies to make sorting easier

Technology and process innovation, for example:

  • reuse processes (for example cleaning)
  • collection
  • sorting and separation
  • mechanical recycling
  • chemical recycling
  • anaerobic digestion (AD) or composting of compostable packaging

Business model innovation, for example:

  • reusable packaging systems, for example refill
  • zero packaging business models and systems
  • consumer or business behavioural change

Eligibility

To lead a project or work alone your organisation must:

  • be a registered UK business of any size
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

To collaborate with the lead organisation your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business, academic institution, charity, public sector organisation or RTO
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • be invited to take part by the lead applicant
  • enter its costs in the Innovation Funding Service

The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding.

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total eligible project costs.

Funding Costs

Up to £1 million has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition.

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £30,000 and £100,000.

Projects must start by August 2020 and end by September 2021. They can last up to 12 months.

Organisations that are primarily engaged in commercial or economic activity (known as selective advantage) as part of the project must ensure their request for funding does not exceed the limits defined below. This includes organisations that typically act non-economically but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.

Projects can be either feasibility studies or industrial research. The project’s overall grant cannot exceed 40% of the total eligible project costs. Of that 40%, the maximum percentage an individual business partner can receive in a collaborative project is dependent on the size of organisation as follows:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small business
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 50% if you are a large business

The research organisations in your consortium can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum is shared between them.

Exclusions

Innovate UK are not funding project which:

  • do not have plastic packaging as the primary focus
  • encourage or facilitate the export of plastic packaging whist still classified as a waste
  • use or manufacture either a liquid fuel or a solid fuel, such as refuse-derived fuel or solid-recovered fuel, as the primary product