A website for University of Exeter staff to swap unwanted items cut eight tons of waste last year.
The reuse scheme – the Waste Action Reuse Portal (WARPit) – was launched a year ago and staff can choose to get, give and loan surplus assets across the university.
The scheme has cut down the amount sent to landfill as staff chose to reuse second-hand items.
Craig Mahoney is principal and vice-chancellor of the University of the West of Scotland and says universities should be teaching environmental awareness and investing in eco-friendly estates
The initiative was introduced by the sustainability team with help from facilities management, which agreed to transport swapped items around the campus.
University porters now assess unwanted items they are called to collect and store some for reuse elsewhere on campus.
There are plenty of members who are helping reuse lots of furniture either by uploading their own items, claiming some for reuse or posting a wish list of what they’re looking for
– Anthony Partridge, University of Exeter
Nearly 500 members of staff are now using the website and have swapped office furniture, stationary and other high-value items.
WARPit tracks all sale and donations through the system and measures a range of financial and environmental data.
Over the last 12 months, WARPit data shows the initiative helped avoid 8,617kg of waste and cut 25,223kg of carbon dioxide, which is the equivalent of planting 34 trees. The university also estimates it has saved £64,891.
Anthony Partridge, assistant facilities operations manager, says: “There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes to adhere to the waste hierarchy (prevent, reuse, recycle, recovery, disposal). We don’t ‘dump’ or landfill anything.
“WARPit was initially trialled to help lessen the pressure of facilities management needing to be the middle man, to address storage space issues and to provide a platform for staff to be able to swap items between themselves (rather than just sending it for disposal) and to encourage a positive attitude change towards how we all deal with our waste.
“The success of WARPit is really down to everyone using it. There are plenty of members who are helping reuse lots of furniture either by uploading their own items, claiming some for reuse or posting a wish list of what they’re looking for.”
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