23/08/2011 - Permalink

Shropshire in funding boost to help recycle electronic equipment

Related topics: Community

Shropshire people are being encouraged to recycle more electronic equipment after a £30,000 grant was awarded to the council and local charities, Shropshire Housing Alliance and South Shropshire Furniture Scheme.

Both charities already work closely with Shropshire Council on the collection and recycling of bulky household waste, and the new project builds upon this already successful relationship.

The funding comes from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) through its Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Local Authority Project Fund, which is administered by the distributor take-back scheme, Valpak.

The project aims to increase the amount of electrical items which can be repaired and reused within Shropshire, and also to help protect the environment by keeping waste out of landfill.  This will be done by:

  • Running a localised ‘Don’t bin it, bring it’ marketing / educational campaign – this will involve schools work and promotional activities designed to get households in Shropshire recycling more.
  • Setting up a not-for-profit AATF (Authorised and Approved Treatment Facility) in Shrewsbury.  This will create a new business which is licensed to dismantle and repair electrical items, run by South Shropshire Furniture Scheme and Shropshire Housing Alliance.

The project will put the emphasis on working through voluntary sector organisations to deliver best value rather than profit.  The project aims not only to divert electrical items from landfill but also to try and find new uses for them so they don’t need to be thrown away.

As well as saving money by cutting down on waste, the project will use the discarded items as a resource to deliver training and employment opportunities.  Initially the project will create one part-time position repairing broken electrical items, but the plan is to then deliver training and support for people who are disadvantaged in the employment market.

Councillor John Hurst-Knight, deputy cabinet member for recycling at Shropshire Council, said:

“A huge number of electrical items, such as televisions and stereos, are thrown away despite them being in working order or just needing some basic repairs.  This project is a great example of partnership working to reduce waste and help people learn new skills at the same time.”

Jean Jarvis, MBE, CEO of social enterprise South Shropshire Furniture Scheme, said:

“This is great news for the furniture schemes in Shropshire who struggle to meet the demands of people on low income desperate for cookers or washing machines, we just don’t get enough of them.  The new social enterprise will also work in partnership with Veolia and the producer compliance scheme, to refurbish electrical items from the Battlefield Recycling Centre.  We will sell the restored items through Reviive, our groundbreaking new store in Shrewsbury, and to the other furniture schemes.  Profits will be ploughed back into the social enterprise, to sustain it beyond the funding.  We’re looking for suitable premises to work from right now.”