The £2.5 million funding has been paid out by Material Focus (formally the WEEE Fund) as interest-free loans to Approved Authorised Treatment Facilities (AATFs) and grants for the charity reuse organisations. The funding was originally announced back in May to support the WEEE recycling and reuse sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, which placed many organisations in financial difficulties with operations halted.
Nearly £2 million of interest free loans have been sent to commercial electrical waste treatment facilities and more than £500k in grants have been given to organisations in the charity sector who support the reuse of electricals. A total of 14 companies applied and were granted loans, and 34 charities were supported with a grant.
The funding has originated from the WEEE Compliance Fee that is paid by compliance schemes as an alternative to buying 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.
The fund has been structured and allocated by Material Focus on behalf of the 2019 Compliance Fee Advisory Panel. This has followed 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.
A lifeline to many organisations
Lucy Drake-Lee, scheme manager at B2B Complince 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.”
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.”