The University of Reading has now published its new Waste and Resource Use Strategy to cover the period 2021-2030. A central tenet of this strategy is the waste hierarchy which firmly places the emphasis on the need to prevent and reduce the amount of waste generated. This is closely followed by reuse and repair, then recycling with the last resort being landfill. This hierarchy aligns with the concept of the Circular Economy which aims to move towards more efficient use of resources by gaining maximum value from all resources through increased reuse and repair.
To help encourage and manage reuse across the University, we have been using the Warp-it Portal since 2015/16. This portal allows staff, from all campuses, to redistribute and reuse items that are no longer required (this is only for business use at the University). It also allows us to measure and track our progress – our most successful year was 2018/19 with 11 tonnes of items reused. That’s the equivalent weight of 2 average sized African elephants! This saved the University over £45,000 in waste and purchasing costs. There was a reduction in the amount saved in 2019/20 but despite the disruption caused by the Covid 19 pandemic, we achieved savings of 6.8 tonnes of items in 2019/20 and over £28,000.
We’re hoping that we can return to higher levels of reuse in 2020/21 so we would like to see the Warp-it portal used by more staff looking for items and to redistribute items that are no longer required. The most common items advertised on Warp-it are desks, chairs, cabinets and stationery. It is free to advertise and claim items through Warp-it, but if you require portering assistance to move items then that will incur a charge.