£500k funding recharge for electronic-waste ideas

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£500k funding recharge for electronic-waste ideas

By Alex Robinson 4th July, 2023

As new polling reveals that 3.4 million homeowners* confess to throwing broken or unwanted tech in the bin, despite knowing it will harm the planet, we are launching a new grant fund in partnership with Virgin Media O2 to find and support solutions to the electronic waste challenge. We opened the first Time After Time fund last September, with a mission to empower community groups with innovative approaches to reducing e-waste. Today, we’re delighted to share the winning groups and announce a second round of funding, with a total of £500,000 available for projects which both tackle e-waste and support digital inclusion.

Hoard times

Electronic waste is the world’s fastest growing waste stream. In the UK, unused tech such as mobile phones, headphones and cables are among the most common belongings cluttering up homes, ​​with more than 19 million unused smartphones and laptops gathering dust in homes and garages across the country**. Our polling shows that almost half of homeowners are ‘likely’ to hold onto items they no longer use, while two-fifths ​of everyone polled ​(38%) admit that they’ve never recycled old or broken tech before. So why aren’t people treating their old tech with respect?

It comes down to a lack of knowledge and options. More than half (53%) said they’d be more likely to dispose of e-waste ‘properly’ if there were convenient and accessible recycling options available, while 8 in 10 believe their community would be a better place to live if there were projects that prevented e-waste or fly-tipping in their area. There are opportunities to improve digital inclusion, too, with almost two-thirds (62%) saying they’d be ‘likely’ to donate unwanted gadgets to someone in need, rather than throwing them away. Like lots of other environmental and social challenges, we need to go beyond educating people and find ways to make it easy and appealing to do the right thing.

Time and again

The new fund will award grants from £25,000 up to £100,000 to projects that reduce e-waste and help people in need to access tech and get online. Charities, community groups and social enterprises are all eligible. And we’ve joined forces with TV presenter and environmentalist, George Clarke, who will join the judging panel to select the winning projects. Applications are now open and close on Friday 20 October.

This fund is part of a wider Time After Time campaign which is leading the charge in tackling electronic waste with Virgin Media O2 as part of their Better Connections Plan. We’ve been zapping the digital divide through pioneering campaigns Community Calling and Tech Lending Community: which make it easier for people to access the internet for free using second-hand devices and access to the National Databank. They also rescue devices from lives of neglect, gathering dust in our drawers, and save precious materials from heading to landfill. Recently, we’ve been sparking excitement among students across the UK to raise awareness about the issue of e-waste, hearing their ideas through a series of hackathons, and supercharging reuse and repair efforts.

Last September, we announced the first round of Time After Time funding, we’re delighted to now announce that the following projects have received funding:

1) The Warren Youth Project – Hull

A two-year project to upskill young people to repair devices, reduce e-waste and teach essential digital skills.

2) Sustainable Hive CIC – Bristol

Engaging workshops with schools across Bristol to educate and train young people to repair electrical items.

3) The Restart Project – nationwide

Reducing e-waste at universities across the UK by engaging directly with students in repair cafes and beyond.

4) Groundwork East – East England

Supporting students to repair, rehome or sustainably dispose of their unwanted tech.

5) Foothold Cymru - Llanelli

Cutting e-waste across Carmarthenshire through the creation of an e-waste hub and a series of events to repair and recycle tech. They’ll engage young people to help build skills and increase employability.

6) Treverbyn Community Trust, Cornwall

A converted van will act as a mobile electronics repair centre across Cornwall, collecting unwanted electrical items from hard-to-reach areas as it goes.

7) Possible – Brent and Camden, London

‘Fixing Fast Track’ training programmes at Possible’s Fixing Factories and repair cafes will provide young people with the skills to repair electrical items.

8) Library of Things – London and the South East

Enabling hyper-local reuse and repair of electronic items such as drills, sewing machines and vacuum cleaners, rather than buying new, to support the circular economy.

9) Youth and Community Connexions – North London

An electrical repair training programme for young people from disadvantaged communities that will teach skills such as rewiring or changing a fuse, so electricals can be reused and donated to families in need.

10) Share Portsmouth - Portsmouth

Events for residents to prevent electricals ending up in landfill, and an online map listing sites where people can get their electrical items repaired or where they can pick up donated devices.

Head to www.timeaftertimefund.org.uk to find out more about this current round of funding, and if you’d like to know more about our work on e-waste or explore how we could work together, then please do get in touch.

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