Digital inclusion and the circular economy

Tackling the joint crises of digital exclusion and e-waste


Digital exclusion is being unable to access and use the internet to benefit from digital. This issue, caused by insufficient access to devices, poor connectivity, and a lack of digital skills, will still affect 5.8 million people in the UK by 2032 if no action is taken. At the same time, the UK is the second worst in the world for generating e-waste, with 30,000 usable electrical products recycled needlessly each week and 880 million unused items sitting in “drawers of doom” in UK homes. Meanwhile, community organisations that redistribute devices to those in need report a desperate shortage.

Despite the clear link between digital exclusion and e-waste, policymakers are yet to grasp the opportunity to tackle these issues together. Our one-year project aims to change this. By conducting expert interviews and collecting case studies from those on the ground, we will show how new policy on digital inclusion and the circular economy that diverts usable electronics from the e-waste stream to redistribution schemes can tackle both crises.

Funding partners

This project is funded by Hubbub and Virgin Media O2 Time After Time E-waste Fund

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