As 3.4 million homeowners confess to throwing broken or unwanted tech in the bin, Virgin Media O2 and Hubbub are launching the 2023 Time After Time fund with a share of £500,000 available for projects to tackle both electronic waste and support digital inclusion.
That’s as new research reveals that 23 per cent have thrown unwanted items away, even though more than 8 in 10 admit it will damage the environment. The study also found that almost half of homeowners (46%) have an ‘out of sight, out of mind attitude’ towards sorting out their house.
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.
Almost half of homeowners are likely to hold onto items they no longer use, and around third (32%) of those who said this admit they do this because they don’t know how to recycle properly.
While two-fifths of everyone polled (38%) admit that they’ve never recycled old or broken tech before.
Virgin Media O2 and Hubbub’s Time After Time fund – now in its second year – will award grants from £25,000 up to £100,000 to a variety of organisations including charities, community groups and social enterprises to run projects that reduce e-waste and help people in need to access tech and get online.
The organisations have 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.
Says TV Presenter and Architect George Clarke:
“Sustainability and community are two causes that I’m incredibly passionate about, which is why it’s an absolute pleasure to be part of this year’s judging panel for Virgin Media O2 and Hubbub’s Time After Time fund.
“It’s a fantastic initiative both tackling the nation’s growing e-waste problem and helping those in need, so I’m really looking forward to seeing the brilliant and inspiring ideas the applicants come up with.”
Protecting the planet
The research also found more than a quarter (26%) of homeowners are concerned their unwanted devices will harm nature and the planet if they end up in landfill.
That’s why more than half (53 per cent) said they’d be more likely to dispose of e-waste ‘properly’ if there were convenient and accessible recycling options available.
Indeed, 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, while 62 per cent say they’d be likely to donate unwanted gadgets to someone in need, rather than throwing them away.
Adds Dana Haidan, Chief Sustainability Officer at Virgin Media O2:
“With George Clarke joining Virgin Media O2 and Hubbub’s search for the UK’s most innovative and exciting eco projects which cut e-waste and rehome unwanted devices with people in need, this year’s Time After Time fund will play a key role in protecting the planet, championing circularity and improving people’s lives across the country.
“Applications close on 20 October, and we’re excited to receive the brightest ideas from community groups, charities and social enterprises.”
Find out more about the Time After Time fund here.