Grants and interest free loans launched to support the electrical waste recycling and reuse sectors in response to the Coronavirus crisis

Posted on the 29th April 2020

Grants and interest free loans launched to support the electrical waste recycling sector in response to the Coronavirus crisis

  • £5 million of interest free loans to be made available to electrical waste treatment facilities
  • £0.6 million of grants to charity sector reuse organisations

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Fund (WEEE Fund) has today announced its “WEEE Support Grants and Loans Package” to help support the electrical waste recycling sector as a result of the impact of the coronavirus. With many household waste recycling centres closed and other waste electrical collections reduced, the flow of electricals for reuse and recycling has been constrained.

The “WEEE Support Grants and Loans Package” will help support the continuation of the UK WEEE recycling system as the sector deals with the impact of the coronavirus. The funding will provide £5 million of interest free loans to electrical waste treatment facilities and £0.6 million of grants to charity sector reuse organisations.

The WEEE Fund structured and allocated the fund on behalf of the 2019 Compliance Fee Advisory Panel, following extensive consultation and research amongst the electrical waste recycling sector. The research identified the economic impact that the corona virus was having on the sector.

Butler, Executive Director, WEEE Fund, said: “This is a fund that has been made available to provide rapid help and support the electrical waste recycling sector as a result of the impact of the coronavirus. The loans will be 100% backed by the WEEE Fund -funded by producers of electricals. We’ve designed the application process to ensure speedy allocation of funding, and included a range of support for re-use and recycling organisations.”

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “Right across the waste sector, I’m hugely grateful to the enormous effort being put in to keep crucial services running; and in such unprecedented times understand the pressure the industry is under. “This fund will help the sector to weather the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. Crucially it will also enable people to do the right thing and recycle more as we move towards a more circular economy.”

Phil Conran, AATF Forum commented: “We welcome this initiative as a crucial lifeline for many AATFs at risk from the lack of WEEE supply following the widespread closure of council HWRCs. The potential loss of quality treatment capacity would be extremely damaging both environmentally and economically to the UK’s ability to meet recycling targets and treatment standards and this initiative should be considered as essential investment for the future.”

Jacob Hayler, Executive Director of the Environmental Services Association (ESA), said: “Approved Authorised Treatment Facilities for WEEE are undoubtedly under pressure from the unprecedented current circumstances. This fund will provide some support through this difficult period and, as a sector, we must ensure that operators experiencing problems at various points across the value-chain receive the assistance they need, so that we all emerge with an unbroken chain once this crisis passes.”

Clare Snow, Director of ICER said: “ We need to maintain a robust recycling industry ready to tackle the WEEE which is building up. For some AATFs this support package is critical to staying in business while coronavirus restrictions are in place.”

Craig Anderson, CEO, Re-Use Network 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 Covid19, self-isolation and lockdown.”

Nigel Harvey, Chair of the WEEE Scheme Forum said: “The WSF is very pleased that our proposal to provide financial support to WEEE recyclers has been accepted. When the coronavirus restrictions are lifted, the WEEE system will need a dynamic and competitive WEEE recycling market, with the capacity to cope with any post-crisis spike. The loans should help to minimise the risk of WEEE recycling business closures, and a rapid start-up of operations when this is required. We also welcome the extension of proposal to include grant funding to WEEE reuse charities, which should facilitate an increase in the proportion of WEEE that is prepared for reuse.”

  • Applications for the grant and loans are open now and can be accessed through emailing a request for the application form to info@weeefund.uk. Applications are open until the end of May 2020.
  • Loan details: loans are available to all registered commercial AATF’s that have issued evidence of treatment in 2019. 50% of the loan will be made available now, paid in April and May 2020 with the remaining 50% available three months after the initial payment.
  • Grant details: grants are available to all registered charity AATF’s.
  • A simple application process has been designed, broadly based on the Government’s Business Interruption Loan (CBILS) application system.

The 2019 Compliance Fee Advisory Panel includes the following representative organisations: Defra, AATF Forum, ICER, LARAC, NAWDO, WEEE Schemes Forum (WSF), Reuse Network, Joint Trade Associations (JTA),and the Environmental Services Association (ESA). The Panel drew on extensive research and consultation amongst the WEEE sector to design the funding scheme that provides support during these unprecedented times.

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