Virgin Media O2 and environmental charity Hubbub have teamed up to launch a £500,000 fund to tackle the growing electronic waste – or e-waste – crisis.
Charities, academic bodies, community interest companies, social enterprises and local authorities are being invited to apply for grants of between £10,000 and £75,000 over the next six months under the Time after Time e-waste fund.
The fund will support UK 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 must aim to prevent e-waste by extending the life of small electrical items, increase the recycling of e-waste or increase understanding of e-waste and reach new audiences.
The UK is said to produce more electrical waste per person than any other country – except for Norway – and there are around 40 million unused gadgets stashed away in UK homes.
A global report from the international WEEE forum found 5.3 billion mobile phones will be thrown away across this year and e-waste will grow to 74 million tonnes a year by 2030.
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.”
The initiative forms part of Virgin Media O2’s new sustainability strategy and is one way it plans to achieve its goal of supporting people to carry out 10 million circular actions to tackle e-waste by 2025.
Applications are being invited until 14th December 2022, following which selected projects will be asked to submit a full application.