Sustainability Action Blog


To reuse or not to reuse that is the question

By Julia Kendal |

Charity banks-Reuse2

Guest blog by Carolyn Couch, Waste & Recycling Manager at the University

Have you heard of Warp It?

Warp It is an online system, which helps the University redistribute, reuse and recycle surplus redundant furniture and equipment.  In 2015 use of  helped us reuse 4.484 tonnes of furniture and equipment that would otherwise have been recycled or recovered for energy.

But what else are we doing to encourage reuse in our university community?

Reuse in Ghana

Many of our halls of residence have charity banks for textiles, CD’s and books and between April 2014 and September this year, 27 tonnes of items were deposited in these banks generating £47,500 for the British Heart Foundation charity. We are also collecting from halls of residence unwanted (in date) tinned food, which has been left by students at the end of their stay.  The food is taken to a local charity for the homeless. Although, charity banks and canned food reuse are beneficial in reducing the amount of waste generated by the University, there is much more that can be done and we are currently working with other charities to make even more of a difference.

Table being reused in GhanaLloyd Clewer from the Farm4life Charity states “The University of Southampton has made a huge difference for the schools, orphanages and colleges that have so far received the donated items, providing an enhanced education experience for all those on the receiving end of the donated furniture!”

“I have seen first-hand the final destination of the furniture received and have seen the difference that has been made already. We will also be using the donated chairs and desks to furnish our 4 new school classrooms which are at the final stages of completion in a small rural village in Accra, Ghana”.Reused chairs in Ghana