Material Focus allocates additional £750,000 to the Electricals Recycling Fund

Material Focus is reopening its Electricals Recycling Fund today, offering £750,000 of funding to support projects that make it easier for more people to reuse and recycle old and unwanted small household electricals. This follows previous rounds of funding that provided £1.8 million to fund over 40 UK projects, which will make it easier for over 10 million people to repair, donate or recycle their unwanted electricals.

Material Focus’s research indicates that while 80% of consumers believe in recycling, many still discard electricals rather than recycling or reusing them. With an average of 30 electrical items hidden away in UK homes, totaling 880 million items nationwide, and 103,000 tonnes thrown away, there’s immense potential for repair, donation, and recycling efforts to make a significant impact.

The Electricals Recycling Fund provides an exciting opportunity to reduce the environmental impact of waste electricals by making it easier for people to reuse and recycle. The Fund is looking for project proposals that will test creative, practical and scalable new methods for collecting electricals that could deliver significant environmental benefits in the future.

Since the Electricals Recycling Fund launched in September 2023, the projects funded have  delivered significant achievements – Over 63.57 tonnes of e-waste have been diverted from landfill. Almost 500 people have been helped by repair events and donation projects, and 228 new recycling locations have been established, making recycling more accessible to 7,431,897 people.

Scott Butler, Executive Director of Material Focus said: “This additional funding is a testament to the success of the projects so far and shows the commitment to tackling e-waste in the UK. We are excited to continue expanding our efforts and making electricals reuse and recycling easier for more people across the UK.”

Kieran O’Leary Policy Officer at Durham County Council said, “Since October we have held 10 Repair Cafés and repaired 97 items, We have also supported two volunteer led repair Cafes and are in the process of setting up a further two. The benefits of HypnoCat and Material Focus’ excellent marketing is hugely beneficial for any project – be it a new one or an existing one. We already had a collection network but this project has allowed us to expand and raise awareness through useful assets including HypnoCat.”

The fund aims to support two types of projects – those seeking to grow or develop existing household collection services for small electricals, and those seeking to innovate new collection methods. Material Focus are seeking applicants from a range of organisations including; local authorities, waste collection authority areas, waste contractors, reuse organisations, non-profits, producer compliance schemes, retailers, and startups are all encouraged to apply. Individuals are not eligible for the funding.

If you are interested please submit an application on the Material Focus website. There is no deadline and this funding round is open on a rolling basis. Applicants can expect to hear within 3 months of applying if they are successful. Please review the Applicants Guide and ensure that you meet the criteria and eligibility requirements before filling out the application form. You may also wish to see the frequently asked questions and terms and conditions.

Example of projects that have been supported by the Electrical Recycling Fund 

From the Orkneys to the Isles of Scilly and from Norfolk to Derry the projects span the UK, showcasing the nationwide impact of the Electricals Recycling Fund. Here is a selection of these projects:

Durham’s project has installed 200 recycling points for small electricals across the county, recycling over 8 tonnes of electrical waste. Additionally, 156kg of electricals have been reused through monthly repair cafes, attended by 115 people so far.

In Ashford, amnesty/blitz style electrical collections days and repair workshops have seen over 225 people attending resulting in 209 items being donated to the local hospice and 52 items booked in for repair.

ILM Highland’s project installed 7 Small Electrical Recycling banks in rurally isolated locations across Highland, collecting 7.69 tonnes of waste electricals. 

Newcastle’s doorstep collection of small electricals and pop-up recycling centres has reached over 300,000 individuals, collecting 1.64 tonnes of old unused electricals, equivalent to 1161 items.

Piloting the first vape recycling scheme in the UK, Oxfordshire collected over 10,000 disposable vapes at household waste recycling centres alongside a dedicated separate kerbside collection for 70,000 households.

Derry and Strabane Council’s partnership with Repair Cafe Foyle holds twice-monthly volunteer-run repair cafes across the county, aiming to encourage local residents to repair rather than discard electrical items. 

Wastesavers’ project in Newport, Wales focuses on increasing donations of small domestic appliances, collecting 38.73 tonnes of small electricals, of which 26.84 tonnes were able to be reused.

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