Liverpool charity receives government funding for WEEE reuse

A Liverpool charity has received government funding to give waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) a new lease of life.

CREATE UK, a social enterprise providing work for long-term unemployed adults, sells affordable second-hand white goods to low income households after refurbishment at its workshop in Speke.

Liverpool charity receives government funding for WEEE reuse
Operations Director Greg Walker (left) and staff at CREATE UK
Funding to the tune of £25,000 will enable the charity to rescue fridges and freezers disposed of at Merseyside and Halton’s Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) and Waste Transfer Stations. It is hoped the charity will repair and re-use up to 100 white goods appliances every week, with a further 2,000 tonnes being recycled for parts. The project will also create at least three full time jobs and three voluntary positions.

The grant is the maximum amount available through the government’s WEEE Local Project Fund, which was launched in August 2017 and is intended for projects that will improve collection, recycling and reuse of WEEE. The grant money comes via the Distributor Takeback Scheme (DTS), a means by which producers of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) can uphold their responsibility to provide methods of disposal for their products. All producers of EEE are required to provide a takeback service to customers, unless they pay a fee through the DTS, which covers all their WEEE obligations and means they don’t have to take back any products directly.

Partners in the project come from the public and private sectors, including Halton Council, Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority and the UK’s largest WEEE producer compliance scheme, REPIC, as well as waste management companies Veolia and Viridor.

Commenting on the funding, Greg Walker, CREATE UK’s Operations Director, said: “This grant will help us to clear all the refrigerators from Merseyside’s HWRCs and reuse as much of them as possible, rather than sending it all for recycling which has been the practice up to now.

“The scheme is a great example of joint working between the public sector, the private sector and the charity sector. The people of Merseyside will directly benefit in terms of jobs and appliances as a result of this contract.”

Cllr Graham Morgan, Chair of Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority, added: “It is environmentally more beneficial to re-use appliances rather than to simply recycle them. This contract provides CREATE with much needed additional stock while providing affordable refurbished white goods to low income households on Merseyside.”

Recent figures from the Environment Agency (EA) show that the UK missed its collection targets for WEEE in 2017, with large household appliances falling over 50,000 tonnes short of the target of 232,811 tonnes. With the number of fly-tipping incidents involving white goods also rising by 323 per cent in the past five years, from 13,000 in 2012/13 to 55,000 in 2016/17, the necessity for improved takeback and collection schemes, as well as better recycling, is clear.

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