Why reuse beats recycling..

Daniel O’Connor, Warp It I spend my life implementing reuse and repa...
Daniel O’Connor, Warp It

I spend my life implementing reuse and repair mechanisms within organisations, so that they can get maximum value from their surplus assets.

There are many things that decrease the potential for reuse, but the number one reason is that reuse is not given the priority it really deserves.

Recycling gets all the attention - yet reuse carries much more bang for the buck in terms of savings, sustainability and social impact. 

Financial wins

Financially reuse is a big win. For every item reused internally the purchase of a new item has been stopped or at least delayed.

For example, University College London has saved well over £70,000 in avoided procurement using the Warp It reuse system. The same goes for Imperial College London and many others. Over half the University sector in the UK use the system.

The true cost of throwing an item away is actually much higher than you think. Your organisation has invested in that asset which is now sitting in a skip. The University of St Andrews have avoided skipping nearly 8 tonnes of assets while using Warp It.

Supply chain impacts

There are also supply chain benefits in reusing surplus assets. Any Asset reused prevents the purchase of a new one and this stops the manufacture of goods. Bath Spa University have avoided over 50 tonnes CO2e!

Furthermore the item in the skip is not the only waste associated with that product. There is much more waste up the supply chain generated during manufacture.

Social benefits and collaboration

On the Warp It reuse system organisations can link up to trade assets over organisational boundaries. Many Universities are trading assets between each other like all of the Bloomsbury Group and institutions in Glasgow, like Glasgow School of Art and Glasgow Caledonian University.

There is also a social donation element. Warp It customers have donated nearly £400,000 worth of donations to micro charities within the UK. University of Sunderland alone, have passed £27K of surplus assets to local charity in a safe, legal and effective manner.

A reuse target?

This is why reuse has much great impact than recycling. But how do you go about increasing the importance of reuse within the organisation? Please use the data mentioned above to start to make the case for reuse within your organisation. Every University and College has a recycling target but very few - I know of only 1, Lancaster University – have a specific reuse target.

Tony Overbury said “UCL has identified waste reduction as a part of a key enabling objective in its institutional strategy and I believe that increasing the reuse of unwanted goods and materials will be essential if we are to meet this objective.”

So explain to the powers that be the full benefits of reuse when making the case to implement a reuse system. This will help you to secure a reuse target and get more resources to create or improve a reuse mechanism in your organisation.


Any University or College signing up to Warp It before the end of July will get a 10% discount. Get in touch with Daniel@warp-it.co.uk.

View some images of the true cost of waste disposal below.
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