34 reuse charities receive £500K of WEEE fund during COVID-19 crisis

Posted on the 11th July 2020

£500K of the £2.5 million “WEEE Support Grants and Loans Package” went to reuse charities it has been announced today.

These grants come at a time where charities are really feeling the crunch. Not only will it support divert waste from landfill but it will also allow reuse organisations to continue supporting people on low-income with the provision of second-hand goods, people with learning disabilities with volunteering and work opportunities or simply people who need a helping hand and a second chance in life.

Craig Anderson, CEO of the Re-Use Network who processed the grant funding said: “During this crisis reuse charities are working in new and creative ways to respond to the needs of their communities. Although high street retail has stopped, the demand for emergency supply of refurbished household appliances for frontline staff and people being rehoused is urgent and increasing. This funding will not only help stabilise the WEEE Reuse charity sector, but will also mean they will be able to process and supply electricals to those most affected by COVID-19, self-isolation and lockdown.”

The “Support Grants and Loans Package” will help support the continuation of the UK WEEE recycling system as the sector deals with the repercussions of COVID-19. The funding has provided nearly £2 million of interest-free loans to commercial electrical waste treatment facilities and over £500,000 in grants to organisations in the charity sector supporting the reuse of electricals. Fourteen companies applied and were granted loans, and 34 charities were also provided with support via grants.

Material Focus structured and allocated the fund on behalf of the 2019 Compliance Fee Advisory Panel, following extensive consultation and research amongst the electrical waste reuse and recycling sector. The research identified the economic impact that the coronavirus was having on the sector. The loans and grants that were applied for were allocated based upon evidence issued by applicants for WEEE processing in 2019, whilst applications for grants were reviewed by a panel of experts before being allocated.

Scott Butler, Executive Director of Material Focus said: “We are delighted that Material Focus has been able to rapidly help and support 48 organisations and charities. The loans and grants are 100% backed by Material Focus. We designed the application process to ensure speedy allocation of funding. Continuing to process the valuable materials contained in electricals is important for the environment and the economy. Re-used electricals can also support those most in need.”

Phil Conran from the AATF Forum, some of whose members benefited from the loan, said: “This was a very welcome initiative and has helped some members get through a very difficult period when their supply of WEEE literally stopped overnight. Without this funding, it is clear that the UK’s WEEE treatment capacity would have been significantly harmed.”

Paul Smith, CEO of The Reuse Shop Stranraer, who received £10,000 from the fund, said: “The WEEE Reuse Support Fund has enabled the Community Reuse Shop to reopen with extra confidence, knowing we have the necessary skills and resources to safely test, prepare and reuse electrical appliances. Without this funding we would not be properly and safely prepared to reopen the shop. We are seeing on day one of our shop reopening that the fund is paying dividends with electrical appliances that would have otherwise gone to landfill are flying out the door.”

The Edinburgh Remakery also received £10,000. Elaine Brown, CEO said: “The Edinburgh Remakery is delighted to receive the WEEE Reuse Grant Support. This will make a huge difference to the work we are doing. Prior to COVID-19 we had launched our free IT Disposal Service for Businesses. The WEEE Grant will enable us to bring back one of our IT technicians to refurbish the IT donations from businesses and another member of the team to promote the service and support businesses through the process. This has given a real kick start to our project that will both benefit businesses to dispose of E-waste responsibly, but also allow us to continue to donate refurbished IT to those in the community that are facing digital isolation as a direct result of COVID-19.”

For further information or interviews please contact: Kate Hinton 07714 708416 / email kate@materialfocus.org.uk

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