One bin to rule them all

The University of Manchester secured one of ten university-led projects across the UK, granted as part of UK Research and Innovation’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

A green bin with empty plastic bottles

The ‘One bin to rule them all’ project aims to improve compliance with recycling by developing ‘One bin’ to hold all plastic-like items and improving recycling infrastructure to create more usable recycled plastics that can be fed back into a circular economy.

Plastics have a considerable impact on everyday lives from packaging, healthcare, construction, and consumer goods.

However, the ongoing dependency and lack of simple, accessible recycling leads to overwhelming plastic leakage with over 95% of plastic packaging ending up in landfill or the environment.

The ‘One bin’ project aims to demonstrate a viable system to eliminate plastic release in the environment by identifying and creating value in plastic packaging waste streams and simplifying recycling for consumers.

To achieve this, The University of Manchester has brought together a cross-sector consortium of 17 industry partners and local authorities to help solve three key challenges in the plastics life cycle:

  • improving methods of chemical and mechanical recycling;
  • developing business models to derive value from reused plastic for industry;
  • understanding consumer practices that lead to enhanced recycling compliance.

The ‘One bin to rule them all’ project builds on the academic partners’ success in the RE3 (Rethinking Resources and Recycling) research grant.

This has led to over £11million in future funding including the Henry Royce Institute’s Sustainable Materials Innovation Hub, led by Prof Shaver which will support ‘One bin’ with state-of-the-art facilities for polymer materials analysis.

The ‘One bin to rule them all project’ is a consortium led by The University of Manchester alongside 17 companies and local and national authorities:

  • Axion
  • Biffa
  • BP
  • Britvic
  • BASF
  • Co-op
  • Defra
  • Dsposal
  • Ecosurety
  • Faerch
  • iPac
  • GMCA,
  • Polytag
  • Sharpak
  • SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK
  • Unilever