An eco innovation developed by a business and the University of Cumbria has been honoured at an awards ceremony for its role in tackling climate change.

Eco-I North West (Eco-I NW) is a research and development programme to create new sustainable technologies, products and services, delivered by a consortium of North West universities - including Cumbria and Lancaster.

Over the course of the programme it will have given more than 330 SMEs access to the extensive knowledge base, cutting-edge research facilities, built new networks to drive innovation, and supported the development of innovative solutions which will save 3,850 tonnes of CO2.

The success of the programme was celebrated at the Eco Innovation awards at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.

The award for ‘Most promising new business’ went to The Rebuild Site CIC, based in Carlisle, who take surplus waste from construction sites and donate to community groups, encouraging the adoption of circular economy principles within the industry. 

They worked with the University of Cumbria to create a materials database to show how much CO2e is saved from diverting the waste from landfill, and sharing that information with customers. 

Maisie Hunt, project director, said: "We are thrilled to receive this Eco-I North West award. Working with the University has been invaluable in validating our model and demonstrating the carbon savings that can be achieved from keeping surplus materials in their current most usable form."

Eco-I NW, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), was led by the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation (CGE) team at Lancaster University.

Commenting on the awards, Dr Andy Pickard, manager of the CGE, said: “Eco-I North West has been an incredibly successful programme which has showcased what can be achieved via collaborative research between academia and business.

“These awards have been a celebration of the impressive work by our six regional university partners, talented undergraduates and postgraduates, and hundreds of small and medium sized businesses.”

“Over the last three years we have created a melting pot of disruptive innovation, driven by collaboration which will continue long into the future. But if we are going to truly achieve the rapid transition to more sustainable economies and societies in the face of the climate emergency, we need to grow our network of collaborators. I would encourage businesses to connect with this region’s universities and start the conversation.”