University saves 32 tonnes of CO2 through re-use scheme

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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.

Notes for editors

For further information, please contact Head of Communications and Engagement (Infrastructure) Sally Brooks on  +44 (0)121 414 3984.