University saves 32 tonnes of CO2 through re-use scheme

The University of Birmingham is using an innovative equipment recycling scheme which has to date saved 32 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the environment.

The Warp-It re-use scheme enables the University to find a new home for surplus equipment internally and now externally, beyond campus. Used since 2018, the scheme is making a difference already.

Kit re-used includes furniture, printer cartridges stationery and much more, and those wishing to see what is available to re-use can do so using the Warp-It website.

University of Birmingham Environmental Services Manager Peter Larkin said: “Reducing waste is a key part of the University of Birmingham’s sustainability programme. With the University putting 262 tonnes of waste into skips in a single year, we knew we had to do better. Although 92% of the contents were recycled, that still creates emissions - and we knew some of these items could be used rather than thrown away: office furniture and equipment after a refit, stationery and so on.

“We launched our Warp-It page at the University in September 2018. It’s already saved 32 tonnes of CO2 and planted the equivalent of 44 trees. It’s saved the University 74,000 in disposal and related costs, too.

“Now we want to take the scheme wider. By building a bigger network, we can ensure more items find new homes. If you’re a local charity, university, college, NHS, school, or a local community group, we’d love to hear from you.”

Instead of throwing away reusable items or leaving them to take up storage space, the Warp-It network’s electronic platform links unwanted items with someone who can put them to good use. Users can create a ‘wish-list’ of items they need, or list their unused resources.

Peter said: “It’s a great way for institutions to save costs - from lower waste disposal costs to cutting down on new purchases. But of course the real benefits are far greater: reduced emissions both from disposal and from buying new, creating a measurable saving of CO2. It’s a valuable change of mind-set, too. Now we don’t consider upgrading without planning a pathway for what we dispose.”

Visit the University of Birmingham Warp-It page.


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