In the news this week, the University of Leicester’s students have been praised for the success of their scheme to reduce waste associated with living in (and leaving) halls of residence.
The British Heart Foundation’s ‘Pack for Good’ scheme was set up to encourage first years and accommodation leavers to donate their discarded and unwanted items at the end of the year rather than binning them, and it has saved a whopping 39 tonnes of stuff from landfill.
39 tonnes! That’s 39 small cars, or 5.5 full-grown elephants. A quarter of a blue whale.
And was made up of all sorts of stuff. We’re talking books, clothes, bedding, décor, kitchen stuff, electronics, anything you can think of that normally gets ditched once you move out of halls and head home for summer.
In association with Leicester City Council, the BHF set up big red donation bins along the busiest student routes between digs and campus to make sure they were spotted.
And it worked.
The huge volume of donations has raised nearly £70,000 in sales for the local BHF shop, not to mention the environmental impact of saving so much stuff from being thrown away.
Want to get involved in something similar? The BHF and all local charities will accept all kind of things you might no longer want, whether it’s from a room clear out at home or end-of-term purge of your uni halls.
Just bag it up and drop it at your nearest shop. Some places will even collect from you.
Most unis run Facebook groups that allow students to sell or give away unwanted items directly to fellow students too, so the end of term might be a good time to nab some textbook bargains or some furnishings for your new pad.
You can even use the groups to flog some books and stuff you no longer need yourself, and make some extra cash for the hols.
Most importantly, it saves items that could be reused by others from being dumped in landfill – just because it’s not useful to you anymore doesn’t mean it’s not exactly what someone else is hunting for.
If you’d consider yourself a bit of a climate warrior, check out our posts on Youth Strikes, veg-heavy diets and research some other ways you can reduce your carbon footprint.
LUCY HARDING is an English Literature grad and an MA Publishing student at UCL. She is passionate about international relations and cultural diversity, having worked closely with her university’s Erasmus society to support European students. She also spent a year abroad studying at California State University: Long Beach
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