Virgin Media O2 and environmental charity Hubbub are launching a £500,000 fund to boost innovation to tackle electronic waste, the fastest growing waste stream in the world.
For the next six months, the Time after Time e-waste fund will award grants of between £10,000 and £75,000 for UK projects which reduce e-waste, encourage recycling of electronic goods, or support devices being used over and over again.
The UK produces more electrical waste per person than any other country in the world (except for Norway)1 and there are approximately 40 million unused gadgets stashed away in UK homes2.
Earlier this month the international waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) forum’s global report found that 5.3 billion mobile phones will be thrown away across this year and e-waste will grow to 74 million tonnes a year by 20303. The opportunity to recycle e-waste back into the circular economy is huge but investment and innovation is urgently needed.
Virgin Media O2 and Hubbub’s Time After Time fund will focus on projects that support the reuse, repair and recycle of small WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment) from smartphones and laptops to toys and DIY equipment. Projects should aim to prevent e-waste by extending the life of small electrical items; that increase the recycling of e-waste; or increase our understanding of e-waste and reach new audiences.
Hubbub and Virgin Media O2 are inviting applications from charities, academic bodies, community interest companies, social enterprises, registered companies, local authorities and Business Improvement Districts. Projects will have to demonstrate measurable impact and a clear legacy and will need to launch by April 2023.
This initiative forms part of Virgin Media O2’s Better Connections Plan – the company’s new sustainability strategy, and is one of the ways the company will achieve its goal of supporting people to carry out 10 million circular actions to tackle e-waste by the end of 2025.
Gavin Ellis, Co-founder of Hubbub said: “E-waste is a pressing environmental issue so this funding is very welcome and will help us support a range of initiatives that could have a significant impact. Whether that’s a research project that supports a reduction in e-waste, a campaign that raises awareness amongst key audiences, or a project that directly tackles the causes of e-waste. We’re particularly welcoming applications that engage people aged 16-24 who are not only heavy users of electrical items but are key to helping tackle this issue in the future.”
Nicola Green, from Virgin Media O2 said: “With millions of devices being stashed in cupboards, left in lofts, or gathering dust in garages, our Time After Time fund will tackle e-waste by investing in eco-projects to help people live greener lives.
“It’s part of Virgin Media O2’s sustainability strategy, the Better Connections Plan, where we’re supporting people to carry out 10 million circular actions by the end of 2025 – from sustainably recycling devices, to sending back old kit and donating unwanted smartphones to people who need them.”
The application process open on Friday 28th October and closes at 17:00 on Wednesday 14th December. Selected projects will then be asked to submit a full application. For more information visit www.timeaftertimefund.org.uk