The ‘Support grants and loan package’ is helping the electrical waste recycling and reuse sector hit by the COVID-19 crisis.
The funding was originally launched in May as a £5 million package of support available as interest-free loans to Approved Authorised Treatment Facilities (AATFs) and grants for the charity reuse organisations. This was due to the fact that the sector was particularly hard hit with the effects of lock-down and the COVID-19 pandemic, placing many in financial difficulties with operations halted.
Last week, Material Focus (formally called the WEEE Fund) announced that it has now allocated nearly £2 million of interest free loans to commercial electrical waste treatment facilities. Over £500,000 in grants to organisations in the charity sector supporting the reuse of electricals have also been provided. In total 14 companies applied and were granted loans, and 34 charities were also supported with a grant.
Extensive consultation and research
The funding has originated from the WEEE Compliance Fee that is paid by compliance schemes as an alternative to procuring recycling evidence on behalf of obligated members. This is a critical mechanism, due to the fact that the WEEE recycling targets have been missed for the last three years in a row, resulting in a shortfall of evidence for schemes to buy.
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 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.
Providing a lifeline
Sue Nolan, procurement manager at Ecosurety commented “The WEEE recycling and reuse sector has needed additional support more than ever before during the COVID-19 pandemic."
"This funding has provided a lifeline to many organisations and charities and we are pleased to see compliance fee funds being used to support those on the ground. We hope that it goes someway in helping to prevent lasting damage within the sector.”
Scott Butler, Executive Director of Material Focus commented “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.”
Stabilise the WEEE Reuse charity sector
Craig Anderson, CEO of the Re-Use Network who processed the grant funding commented “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.”
Find out more about Material Focus and the Recycle your electricals campaign that has also been funded by the WEEE compliance fee.
Marketing projects specialist
Ben joined the team at the beginning of 2015 and helps drive marketing communications and projects for Ecosurety, including project managing the launch of the Ecosurety Exploration Fund and website content development.