This year, to support King’s in our sustainability strategy and our goal to recycle 70% of our non-hazardous waste by 2019-20, King’s Residences have once again partnered with Better Re-use to help manage waste generated by students leaving halls of residence for the summer. Better Re-use successfully saved anything from used furniture to bedding and electrical items from going to landfill, allowing these things to live out second lives through partnerships with Oxfam, Shelter and other charitable organisations across London.
How It Worked
Over 13 collections, and with the great assistance and enthusiasm of all Residence Managers, staff, cleaners, volunteers and students involved, Better Re-use collected waste from our four directly managed halls of residence: Stamford Street, Great Dover Street, Wolfson House and Champion Hill. They then sorted, weighed and arranged the distribution of the materials collected.
The partnership was a huge success. This was down to two main factors. First, better communication with students on how to deal with their waste on departure directly led to the substantial quantities gathered. Secondly, our partnership with Better Re-use allowed the re-distribution of duvets, pillows and carbon dense materials that were previously difficult to divert from landfill.
Particular progress was made at Great Dover Street, where more awareness was created via communications from the King’s Residences team. The hall contributed an additional 34% over 2017. Better Re-use estimates that 362 students engaged with the scheme, approx. 23% of total leavers. On average, 2.06kg of waste was received from each student (a 32% increase) and collections overall were up 10%.
Across the four residences, King’s managed to divert 3,261 kg from landfill – a 10% increase from 2017, diverting 37,611kg CO2e – a 20% increase on the year. This represents a 99% re-use rate, with nothing going to landfill.
Where Did It All Go?
The re-usable goods collected from our students went to support a variety of charities, including:
A charity which supports orphans and vulnerable or neglected children in Romania, providing education, employment training, healing of past trauma and most of all a loving family.
Shelter London (https://england.shelter.org.uk/)
Which works with people suffering bad housing or homelessness.
Bright Sparks Islington (http://directory.islington.gov.uk/kb5/islington/directory/service.page?id=6gvCBq_6XQQ)
Which diverted reusable furniture, small electrical items and bric-a-brac, providing jobs and volunteering opportunities for the socially excluded, or people looking to get back into work.
St Mungo’s East London (https://www.mungos.org/)
Works directly with people who are sleeping rough or in hostels and helping them to rebuild their lives and fulfill their ambitions.
Oxfam was able to put most of the clothing items up for resale in their shops, while other dirty or damaged clothing items went to their central sorting warehouse to be sent either to shops or to Oxfam projects abroad.
The effort that the King’s Residence teams have put into making this a success is amazing, and we look forward to seeing the figures for next year’s big summer clear out!