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sustainable packaging

Sustainable Packaging Challenge: Waste Not, Want Not

THE CHALLENGE: Create a reusable packaging solution that would offer the ultimate protection for the global distribution of products without harming the environment.

Buying habits have completely changed as the world has evolved and they have been further accelerated by the global pandemic. The environmental implications of single-use material on packages are felt across the globe. Reuse or repurposing packages are said to have a significant positive impact on combating climate change.

Ideally, all our packaging should be environmentally friendly, produced from sustainable sources, and suitably reusable or recyclable, also helping our customers with their sustainability goals.


We’re on the right track with the recyclable requirement, as a reasonable proportion of our packaging is paper-based. But unfortunately, not only it’s not reusable, but a wide range of our products still rely on plastic or laminated materials as they are low-cost and effective materials. Ideally, all our packaging should be environmentally friendly, produced from sustainable sources, and suitably reusable or recyclable.

We are primarily a distribution business and as you can imagine, the more business we do – the more packaging we require, (we currently send out 60,000 parcels a day). We want to be a more sustainable business, and this means looking for ways to reduce the amount of packaging we use – without impacting our ability to do business.

Let’s curb this reliance on single-use plastic and laminated materials and enable our customers to reuse or effectively recycle the packaging provided.

In an ideal world…

We would use a “wonder” material that could be applied to any product – no matter what size or shape. A material that could offer the ultimate protection and act as a shield through a global distribution network. A material that the customer could easily remove, store and reuse time and time again.


Applications are Now Closed!!

Please refer to the overview for full competition information. 

Entry Criteria

  • Teams of 3 to 5 people
  • All team members aged 18-30 at the time of entry
  • All team members registered with DesignSpark
  • All entries must be in English (be able to communicate in English)
  • A passion for sustainability!

Searching for our #RSINNOVATORS

We are looking for 20 teams to take through to the next phase of the competition, where we will support you with a program of mentoring and masterclasses to turn your ideas into innovations!

rs innovator timeline


25 October - Event: Turn your ideas into Innovations! / Competition open for entries 

30 November – Submission Deadline, get your entries in!

December – A shortlist of teams will be invited to submit a video

January – 10 finalist teams announced

February & March – 6-week masterclass and mentoring program to equip your team with the skills and knowledge needed to turn your idea into a reality (teams will need to commit to 1 masterclass, and 1 mentoring session a week)

27th to 31st March – The virtual final, pitch the solution your team has been working on to a panel of judges, and be in with the chance of winning 3 grand prizes!


In case you missed it...

1st Place - £10,000 GBP!

2nd Place - £5,000 GBP!

3rd Place - £3,000 GBP!

  • A total of 3 teams will be crowned ultimate champions! That's 3 chances of winning! 
  • An opportunity to further develop your solutions further through an amazing accelerator program
RS Grass Roots is the Education & Community Impact team at RS. Grass Roots champions young engineers with exciting opportunities to nurture the next generation of outstanding innovators! Industry now demands graduate engineers with not only the knowledge but crucially the skills and practical experience to solve real problems and create new designs. Whether you are an academic working to enhance the educational experience or a student tackling your latest project - RS is here to help.