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UniGreenScheme is enabling lab equipment to be reused.

The University of Birmingham and UniGreenScheme received a national Green Gown Award for Facilities and Services last week thanks to an innovative scheme which is making waves beyond the University.

The awards are operated by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC).

UniGreenScheme is the University’s contracted asset resale service, aiming to prevent high levels of waste when old laboratory equipment is replaced. Until now, the only way to get rid of it was through disposal.

In 2015, Michael McLeod, a research student took on the problem and alongside staff from across the institution, UniGreenScheme was created. In its first year working in partnership with the University it collected surplus equipment, processed it for sale and returned a share of the profits to the University.

It collected 543 cubic metres of equipment – equivalent to 88 eight-yard skips. This means 27 tonnes of equipment has been saved from waste disposal and re-used. This is a saving of approximately 88 tonnes in CO2.

The University received more than £15,000 from sales of equipment and an estimated 878 staff hours were also saved. With additional savings of nearly £16,000 on the disposal of equipment, the scheme has shown an overall benefit of £44,000 to the University.

University Environmental Services Manager Peter Larkin said: “We are thrilled with this award. It is a fitting reward for the significant partnership work that has gone into UniGreenScheme. The reuse of equipment very much supports the University’s carbon management plan by reducing waste and avoiding CO2 emissions. It’s a simple and sustainable win for all.”

Michael McLeod, Managing Director of UniGreenScheme and University alumnus, said: “Without the University of Birmingham and its incredible staff, I have no doubt that UniGreenScheme and the 150,000kg of waste we have prevented across the sector would simply not exist.”

The scheme is now being rolled out to other higher education institutions and has the potential to help industry as well. The team behind the scheme have created a film to demonstrate how it works.

For further information, please contact Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Manager Sally Xerri-Brooks on  +44 (0)121 4143984.