ISCF SSPP Collecting flexible plastic packaging waste at home

Key Features

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £250,000 to develop innovative ideas that help with the collection of flexible packaging waste from households.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £250,000

Opens: 27th Feb 2023

Closes: 12th Apr 2023

! This scheme is now closed


Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £250,000 from the Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Programme.


The aim of this competition is to fund projects that will develop innovative ideas to help with the collection of flexible plastic packaging waste from households. The ultimate goal being the reduction of the amount of waste ending up in landfill or in the environment.

Your project must:

  • develop an idea and propose a design for containing or collecting household flexible plastic packaging waste that is easy to store in the home and easy to carry or transport
  • encourage householders to collect flexible plastic packaging waste as a separate waste stream for kerbside collection or for transporting to collection points in supermarkets

Functional and technical requirements

Your proposed containing or collecting solutions for household flexible plastic packaging waste:

  • must be easy to use by all householders and must take into consideration equality, diversity and inclusion
  • must be easy to clean if designed for multi-use, or be able to be recycled along with the collected flexible plastic packaging
  • should reduce the volume so that more flexible plastic packaging waste can be stored in a manageable space
  • must not reduce the flexible plastic to small parts, and flexible plastics must remain as separable items for onward sorting
  • would ideally be designed to encourage the collection of as much material as possible
  • should be strong enough to take the wear and tear of regular use and be kept in the home environment for extended periods and have a multi-year service life, if designed for multi-use
  • should consider the durability of any mechanisms, such as compression
  • if your solution is short-lived or single use, you must justify this approach in terms of carbon footprint and end of life
  • must be recyclable past useful life

The project should take into account the following considerations:

  • available space within typical UK households
  • typical UK weather conditions if being placed outside
  • manufacture from recycled plastics is encouraged
  • price per unit, containers may be bought by individual households or in bulk for local authority issue
  • aesthetics, the design should be pleasing so as to encourage its use as a waste collection system within the home

Innovate UK encourage the use of human-centred research and design principles, working in new ways and involving hands-on customer and user research as a means of informing and testing novel ideas.


Your project must:

  • have a grant funding request between £25,000 and £50,000
  • start by 1 September 2023
  • end by 29 February 2024
  • last between 3 and 6 months
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

You must only include eligible project costs in your application.

Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian and Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian and Belarusian source.

You will be made ineligible if you have exceeded the £315,000 Minimal Financial Assistance limit during the current and previous 2 financial years.

You must submit a complete declaration as part of your application.


To apply your organisation must be:

  • a UK registered business of any size
  • charity
  • not for profit

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.

You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK.

You must also provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you.

Innovate UK expect all subcontractor costs to be justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs. Innovate UK will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

You can only apply into this competition with 1 application. Innovate UK will only award grant funding to 1 project per business or organisation.

You cannot use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

Grant funding in this competition is awarded as Minimal Financial assistance (MFA). This allows public bodies to award up to £315,000 to an enterprise in a 3-year rolling financial period.

In your application, you will be asked to declare previous funding received by you. This will form part of the financial checks ahead of Innovate UK making a formal grant offer.

To establish your eligibility, we need to check that our support added to the amount you have previously received does not exceed the limit of £315,000 in the ‘applicable period’.

The applicable period is made up of:

(a) the elapsed part of the current financial year, and

(b) the two financial years immediately preceding the current financial year.

You must include any funding which you have received during the applicable period under:

  • Minimal Financial Assistance (previously referred to as Special Drawing Rights)
  • De Minimis Regulation

You do not need to include aid or subsidies which have been granted on a different basis, for example, an aid award granted under the General Block Exemption Regulation.


Innovate UK are not funding projects:

  • that do not focus on the collection of existing flexible plastic packaging waste arising in the UK
  • that develop alternative packaging materials
  • that involve heating or melting the flexible plastic packaging waste to condense it
  • that involve sealing the flexible plastic packaging waste in plastic bags
  • that involve primary production in fishery and aquaculture
  • that involve primary production in agriculture
  • with activities relating to the purchase of road freight transport
  • not allowed under De minimis regulation restrictions
  • not eligible to receive Minimal Financial Assistance

Innovate UK cannot fund projects that are:

  • dependent on export performance, for example giving an award to a baker on the condition that they export a certain quantity of bread to another country.
  • dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example if we give an award to a baker on the condition that they use 50% UK flour in their product

Funding Costs

Innovate UK have allocated up to £250,000 to fund innovation projects in this competition.

You can request 100% funding for your eligible project costs up to a maximum of £50,000.

For more information on company sizes, please refer to the Company accounts guidance.

If you are applying for an award funded under European Commission Regulations, the definitions are set out in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003.

Interested in applying for this competition?

Book an appointment to speak to one of our advisors to discuss your eligibility to apply for this Grant Funding opportunity.