14 July 2020 by James Langley

Material Focus allocates £2.5 million to WEEE sector

Material Focus has allocated £2.5 million in grants and interest free loans to treatment facilities and reuse charities to support the waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE) sector.

Nearly £2 million in interest free loans has been provided to 14 commercial electrical waste treatment facilities, while 34 organisations in the charity sector supporting the reuse of electricals have received more than £500,000 in grants.

Material Focus was previously known as the WEEE Fund

Unveiled by Material Focus in April, the Support Grants and Loans Package aims to support the sector as it deals with the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic (see letsrecycle.com story).

Scott Butler is the executive director of Material Focus, the organisation formerly known as the WEEE Fund. He 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.”

Allocation

Material Focus says it 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.

“We are delighted that Material Focus has been able to rapidly help and support 48 organisations and charities”

Scott Butler, executive director of Material Focus

The 2019 Compliance Fee Advisory Panel includes Defra, AATF Forum, ICER, LARAC, NAWDO, WEEE Schemes Forum (WSF), Reuse Network, Joint Trade Associations (JTA), and the Environmental Services Association (ESA).

The loans and grants 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, Material Focus says.

Grants

Grants were available to all registered charity AATFs. A portion was available to some non-AATF charity reusers of electricals.

The Re-use Network processed the grant funding

Craig Anderson is CEO of the Re-Use Network, the organisation which processed the grant funding. He 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.”

Loans

Loans were available to all registered commercial AATFs that issued evidence of treatment in 2019.

Half of the loan was made available immediately, with the remainder available three months after the initial payment.

Phil Conran is chair of the AATF Forum, some of whose members benefited from the loan. He 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.”

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