Research funding to address the 500,000 tonnes of electrical waste lost each year

11 September 2020

Today Material Focus is launching new funding for research that aims to identify solutions to address some of the significant losses of electrical waste currently occurring in the waste management system.  

Material Focus’s report, Electrical Waste:  Challenges and Opportunities identified that in the UK currently, 500,000 tonnes of waste electricals are lost through being thrown away, hoarded, stolen or illegally exported. A range of innovative research proposals and solutions are being considered as part of the research funding to help support the growth of recycling and reuse of waste electricals.

Scott Butler, Executive Director, Material Focus said:  “The research will be vital to ensuring that we identify solutions to addressing the huge amount of electrical waste that in the UK is currently being thrown away, hoarded, stolen or illegally exported. We are seeking research proposals that provide innovative solutions to this challenge. A key component of the research will be to ensure that these solutions have buy-in from a range of stakeholders across the sector to ensure that they are practical and viable to deliver.”

This is the third round of research funding that Material Focus has launched. Material Focus funds technical research into the barriers to reuse and recycling of old electricals. Insights from this research aims to galvanise new approaches to recycling – such as innovative models of collection, better enforcement, and more efficient use of resources, with buy-in from local authorities, businesses and community groups.

Material Focus is seeking a range of applications for research proposals that are in the region of £20,000 to £50,000. 

For more information on how to apply for research funding go to the Recycle Your Electricals website and sign up as a research applicant. 

Notes to Editors

For further information please contact Kate Hinton, mobile 07714 708416.

Material Focus (formerly the WEEE Fund), is a not-for-profit organisation whose goal is to stop the nation throwing away or hoarding all their old small electricals. It has launched the new UK-wide Recycle Your Electricals campaign. The campaign is revealing the value hidden in electricals and is making it easier for us all to recycle and reuse the small electricals we no longer need by providing more recycling points as well as providing practical information on how households can recycle.

The campaign is funded by producers of electrical appliances. The UK government sets annual targets for the recycling of all waste electricals, including small electricals. If producers of electrical appliances don’t meet this target, then they contribute towards a fund. Since 2017 over £15 million has been raised, which pays for a range of activities including communications, behaviour change activities, increasing  recycling collection points and options and technical research. Ultimately the aim is to support actions that will help the UK increase the levels of reuse and recycling of waste electricals.

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