Innovation Exchange challenge: Developing a process to effectively reclaim and recycle silicone from used HealthTech and medical devices

Seeking innovators who can provide a solution to reclaim and recycle silicone from used HealthTech and medical devices in an efficient and effective manner.

Opportunity Details


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The selected applicant will have the opportunity to collaborate directly with the challenge holder, implementing their innovative solution. Additionally, they will gain access to grant funding of up to £25,000 to support their project.


Innovate UK

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Silicone is extensively utilized in HealthTech and medical devices, yet its ability to be recycled poses challenges due to its size, bodily contact and product classification as clinical or offensive waste. With silicone usage becoming widespread, and the associated significant risks of plastic waste and pollution increasing, there is a growing demand for recycling solutions.

The project will therefore explore and develop a process to reclaim and recycle silicone from used female healthtech and medical devices, including but not limited to breast pumps, menstrual cups and pelvic floor devices to name a few. It will need to consider how to efficiently and effectively:

  • Identify the correct materials
  • Strip these out from used devices
  • Recycle the silicone to give this waste material a new and useful second life.

The solution provider will also need to consider how to navigate ‘clinical’ or ‘offensive’ waste status of some (not all) used devices through deep cleaning, sterilisation or other techniques.

The project will draw on complementary work on breast pump recycling and aims to have a process that can be piloted on a selection of used devices in approximately 12-18 months.

Selected solution(s) will be trialled in pilot studies, with the possibility of further research or co-development with the challenge holder upon successful trials.


Oshun Labs Ltd. is a women’s health innovation lab dedicated to developing solutions for women’s health and FemTech. Driven by a commitment to inclusive and sustainable healthcare, this project seeks to influence companies across the FemTech, health and manufacturing sectors to incorporate circular design principles into the development of women’s medical devices.

Most FemTech and women’s health devices are comprised of electronic components and medical-grade body-safe plastics including silicone, a popular and widely used material but with limited recycling options. The solution will address a burgeoning market driven by the rapid expansion of the HeathTech industry. This project therefore aims to improve the sustainable nature of HealthTech products whilst offering potential affordability, and thus accessibility, benefits to end users.


Entrants to this competition must be:

  • A small-medium sized enterprise (SME)
  • A UK based/UK registered business
  • Have not exceeded its Minimum Financial Assistance limit (or De Minimis, where relevant).

Rewards & Benefits

The Net Zero Catalyst is an Innovate UK Innovation Exchange (iX) competition which makes available grant funding for a series of Net Zero iX challenges (up to £25,000 per challenge partnership). Please note that, in accordance with the iX process, all funding will be directed to solution providers.

The benefits package for a successful applicant may also include:

  • Support from Innovate UK Business Connect
  • Support in the development of a prototype or pilot
  • Technical support
  • Invitation to attend or present at Innovate UK Business Connect events
  • A potential business collaboration
  • Investor introductions (if investment is required)
  • Support if any Innovate or similar competitions are relevant.

For further functional and technical requirements, visit the Innovation Exchange site at the link below.


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