Staff from South West College recently joined collaborative partners, Ulster University (UU) for a face-to-face meeting at the brand new UU Belfast campus as work continues on the RE:Solve project. The meeting was convened to discuss project progress and to develop and agree a programme of activity for the remainder of the project.

Funded by the Ecosurety Exploration Fund, the RE:Solve project is being delivered in collaboration with project partner, Ulster University, to create a method to sustainably deal with food waste plastic packaging from anaerobic digestion plants that is heavily contaminated with organic matter (food waste). The project aims to reduce the amount of contaminated food waste plastic packaging that is consigned to landfill where it decomposes releasing harmful greenhouse gases by using a novel method to process the waste to “clean” and separate it and identify recycling and recovery routes for the separated materials; the food residue and plastic packaging.

During the meeting, partners showcased a series of presentations documenting the project and successes achieved to date. The meeting also allowed partners to conceive new routes to support the scale-up of the technology and its’ application in an industrial setting. Engineering staff and design experts from South West College provided prototype proposals following consideration of the detailed material analysis work carried out by UU.

Speaking of the meeting, Dr Ashlene Vennard, Project Manager, said;

‘As we enter this critical final stage of the project it was a fantastic opportunity to meet face-to-face with project partners to explore the key findings to date, and remind ourselves of the importance of finding a better route for these waste materials and diverting them from landfill’

The in-person meeting also allowed in-depth discussions to occur and was also attended by Gareth Morton – Ecosurety Exploration Fund Manager. Reflecting on the meeting, Gareth added;

‘I was delighted to attend the event last month and gain a further insight into the project progress as this project is really important in order to find new solutions to recycle these challenging waste streams and the results could have implications for the whole of the UK and Ireland.’


Dr. Svetlana Tretsiakova-McNally highlighted the critical work carried out at UU saying;

‘Through our work on chemical and thermal characterisations of the plastic packaging materials we have identified several key findings that we have fed back which will improve on the processing method being developed at SWC.’

For further information about the RE:Solve project please visit